Effective communication is essential in all healthcare situations. Over half a million Canadians who have disabilities that affect communication are at high risk for not having the supports they need to communicate when accessing and receiving COVID treatments. In addition, a significant number of people who were previously able to speak, are now unable to communicate due to breathing problems and being on ventilators in Intensive Care Units.
COVID patients who cannot speak have a legal right to get supports they need to communicate during all phases of assessment and treatment related to COVID.
Not being able to communicate can result in an inability:
- to access telephone hotlines and screening options
- to be understood when giving information at triage or when communicating about health status, needs and wants when hospitalized
- to give informed consent to treatment
- to communicate with loved ones during the healthcare process and especially at end-of-life.