Be Prepared …in case you have to go to hospital

Adapted from an article by Kelsey Mandak, April 8, 2020 

Read Kelsey Mandak’s full article on the RERC website

If you are someone who uses augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), or someone who cares for someone who has communication needs, it is important to be prepared to ensure that communication needs are met in a healthcare setting. 

Here are some things you can do to be prepared. 

  • Identify individuals who can provide communication assistance should this be necessary. Be sure that there is a network of other people who can step in to provide support. 
  • Make a communication passport that tells people how you communicate and what to do when communicating with you.  
  • Prepare a bag of materials that may be needed to help with comprehension and expression. Make sure these are “ready to go” in case you become ill and require medical assistance. Include low-tech, nonelectronic options as it may not be possible to access and use technologies. For example: glasses, hearing aid, Yes / No board, picture or letter board, pen and paper etc. Check out some of the free boards that are available at  Patient Provider Communication
  • Prepare a medical or health passport that includes all critical health information including medical conditions, medications, current medical team, contact information, etc. Make sure that this is easily located to share with medical personnel.
  • Know about communication support rights, if you are denied your rights for communication support.