Your Communication Rights in Health Care Settings

Your Communication Rights in Health Care Settings

If you are a patient in a hospital or other health care setting, you have communication and other civil rights under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hospitals and other health care facilities must meet your communication needs at all times – even during a pandemic.

Communication Rights Toolkit

Patients who need communication tools and supports due to speech-related disabilities face greater risks of discrimination and isolation during the pandemic. Your legal and civil rights to access your communication supports do not go away during an emergency, in quarantine, or at the hospital. For safety reasons, hospitals may have strict visitor policies which make it harder for your family members and others who help you communicate to join you at appointments. You also may face other barriers to communicating your needs and desires while you are being treated.

This online toolkit (1) explains your communication rights, (2) provides tips on advocating for them, and (3) includes an accommodation request form you can take to the hospital.

Sign in front of hospital entrance reads No Visitors Except Designated Essential Visitors

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