An Update from DRRI
DRRI Seeks Community Input on Hospital Policy

On May 8, 2020, following advocacy by DRRI, the RI Developmental Disabilities Council, The Paul V. Sherlock Center for Disabilities at Rhode Island College, and other community partners, The RI Department of Health updated its Healthcare Facilities Visitation Policy which now provides the following:

"When a support person is essential to the care of a patient with a disability, including patients who have altered mental status, communication barriers, or behavioral concerns (such as patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), dementia, and/or behavioral health needs), accommodations for the patient should be made so that the patient can be accompanied by the support person. These accommodations can facilitate communication with hospital staff, accessibility, equal access to treatment and/or the provision of informed consent in accordance with the civil rights of patients with disabilities. "

A support person may include:
  • a family member,
  • guardian,
  • community support provider,
  • peer support specialist, or
  • personal care attendant

At this time, DRRI has been contacted by multiple advocates and family members regarding instances in which the above-stated hospital visitation policy has been violated, and hospitals have not allowed support persons to accompany people with disabilities.

If this has happened to you or someone you know,
please call us at Disability Rights Rhode Island,

We are advocating on your behalf and would like to speak with you.

For concerns about your rights regarding hospital
visitation and any other disability-related legal concerns, please contact us at:

Disability Rights Rhode Island
Our answering service is available 24/7 and if you do not reach us during
business hours, a member of our staff will return your call within 24 hours. 
(401) 831-3150
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