Adults with Disabilities Need Accessible and Responsive Telehealth Care

Adults with Disabilities Need Accessible and Responsive Telehealth Care

by Evan England and Kimberly Phillips, Ph.D.

The December 2020 issue of Disability in Focus from the New Hampshire Disability & Public Health Project shows that in New England, adults with disabilities are more likely than adults
without disabilities to use telehealth for remote health care visits.

Four out of five adults with and without disabilities in New England got more telehealth care in the last six months than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 2020, adults with disabilities used telehealth even more than adults without disabilities but were less happy with the telehealth care they received. Adults with disabilities were more likely than adults without disabilities to say that, at their most recent telehealth visit, their doctor did not:
• Show respect for what they had to say,
• Listen to them carefully,
• Spend enough time together in the visit, or
• Explain things in a way they could understand. Front Page of the 'Quick Guide to Telepractice Best Practices'

Health care providers can help make telehealth easier to use. They can use active listening as much as possible during telehealth visits and encourage each person to participate in their own care. They can also communicate using plain language, check for understanding, offer flexible appointment times, and agree on how the time will be spent before the visit starts.

Health care providers may benefit from training or resources like the Quick Guide to Telepractice Best Practices from the University of New Hampshire’s Telehealth Practice Center. Even when the pandemic ends, telehealth will be a useful way for people with and without disabilities to get health care. It is important to make sure it works well for everyone.


Plain Language Strategies
Quick Guide to Telepractice Best Practices
Disability in Focus: December 2020


DRC-NH, in collaboration with the UNH Institute on Disability and the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities, distribute a quarterly RAP sheet to educate community members and policy makers about the latest research, policy, practice, and advocacy issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

Latest RAP Sheet

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By Kelly Nye-Lengerman, Stephanie Patrick, and Isadora Rodriguez-Legendre Every few months, staff from the Disability Rights Center-NH, UNH Institute on Disability, and NH Council on Developmental Disabilities gather together to plan the focus area for each issue. We consider the most pressing issues and look at where there are opportunities to help our readers understand these...