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Health Care Access during COVID-19

This is a very good video on what it might be like to access health care through virtual health appointments – Virtual Health Appointments


This toolkit is for caregivers who are interested in improving the health and health care of a family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The resources included in this toolkit include tools developed by the H-CARDD program as well as curated resources from Surrey Place’s Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program and others. These tools can be used together, or as stand-alone materials, depending on your needs, goals and existing resources. The Toolkit can be accessed here: https://familymatters.ddtoolkits.com/?mc_cid=c577b3fd2e&mc_eid=d801601db9 


Talking with those that support you and your family about what is important to you is always a good idea. It is especially important to talk about what you might want to happen should you get sick. If you haven’t already done so, you could use this time when you aren’t going out that much to share this information. A helpful tool to do this is the About My Health worksheet from Surrey Place in Ontario.


An additional helpful resource developed recently is the COVID-19 Advanced Care Planning Document


Health Matters – an American organization has a number of very good webinars related to rights and health care during COVID. You can access their channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMHjEqqjs847ZTwOOgeGzNw


Shared Health published an Ethics Framework to help aid decisionmaking during the pandemics. This may be particularly helpful in advocating for treatment, accessibility and supports for people with disabilities when accessing health care. It can be found at  https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-shared-health-ethics-framework.pdf


ARCH disability law sent an Open Letter to the Ontario Government raising concerns and making recommendations for reform, to Ontario Health’s Clinical Triage Protocol for Major Surge in COVID Pandemic. In total, the letter is supported by 204 disability and community organizations and 4828 individuals. You can find it here: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/resource/open-letter-ontario-covid-19-triage-protocol/


Letter from Include-Me.ca:  On April 7th, 63 Canadian disability organizations sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Qualtrough, Minister Hajdu, all territorial and provincial premiers, ministers of health and chief bureaucrats asking to not use these discriminatory practices and offered rights-based guidelines.

On April 9th, we started a letter writing campaign: STOP the discriminatory triaging of people with disabilities. To date, 28,485 letters have been sent to the same government officials listed above. Thanks to all of you who signed. There is still time to send a letter if you so desire.

On the same day, we received our one-and-only response from the Ministry of Health in Saskatchewan informing us that “there are no plans in place to restrict testing or treatment due to a person’s age, race, physical or mental abilities.”

Minister Qualtrough advised the newly formed Covid-19 Disability Advisory Group that she and Minister Hajdu sent a letter April 14th to provincial and territorial ministers regarding the equitable and accessible provision of medical treatment and care for people with disabilities in this time of pandemic response. With this letter, she attached the letter from April 7th from the 63 disability organizations.

Now, we need your help again. For the most part, health care is a provincial/territorial issue. We urge you to contact your Memeber of your Provincial/Territorial Legislature and tell them to not use discriminatory triaging of people with disabilities.

Letter was signed

Krista Carr, Canadian Association for Community Living
Bill Adair, Spinal Cord Injury Canada
Maureen Haan, Canadian Council of Rehabilitation and Work
Steven Estey, Council of Canadians with Disabilities


BC published a ‘Community Alert’ regarding the concerns surrounding the prohibition on allowing support staff or family to accompany someone with disabilities into hospital. When that person requires support to adequately communicate or engage with health care, this should be accommodated.  


Joint Position Statement on the Right to Equal Access to Medical Treatment (TASH) called for equal access to health care outlining that the presence of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, should not be an indicator for withholding or limiting access to medical care. It can be found here: https://tash.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Final_Statement_on_Rights_to_Equal_Access.pdf


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