Given the ever changing status of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout Pennsylvania, the country and the world, we offer some valuable resources below to address what may be the unique needs of individuals of all ages with disabilities.
Resources for All
Multilingual COVID Resource Hub – from UCLA, a searchable collection of online links and materials to help equip diverse language communities with important information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Go to the page: https://translatecovid19.com/
Health Care Rationing Hotline
Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) has created a Health Care Rationing Hotline during the pandemic. Individuals with disabilities or family members or caregivers of individuals with disabilities who experience discrimination in health care rationing, who are denied effective communication at the hospital, or who are prohibited from bringing a needed family member or staff with them in the hospital should contact DRP at 1.800.692.7334 ext 402.
AID in PA
AID in PA is a resource collection for Pennsylvanians in the autism and intellectual disability communities. The website is a joint effort between ASERT (Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training) and the statewide HCQUs (Health Care Quality Units), and is designed to connect individuals with disabilities, families, professionals, and community members with resources that can best serve them in emergency situations. Current resources focus on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This link takes you to the website: https://aidinpa.org/
PA Department of Human Services Support & Referral Helpline
Help is available if COVID-19 has you feeling scared, overwhelmed, or anxious. Community-based resources are available to Pennsylvanians 24/7 by calling the Support & Referral Helpline 1-855-284-2494; 724-631-5600 (TTY)
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Resource Page
While county assistance offices are closed, this page highlights the many provider and citizen online services of DHS and related Coronavirus information from Pennsylvania’s response to the pandemic. Go to the resource page: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Pages/Coronavirus-2020.aspx
Medical Care During COVID-19
“Preparing Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities for Medical Treatment at Hospitals” is a form to be completed before an individual goes to the hospital seeking medical attention for COVID-19 symptoms. Having this form, and the accompanying documents, will help alert ER physicians to necessary and proper communication with the patient with disabilities and his/her needs and wishes. This form was created by M. Ballan and C. Perri of Stony Brook University for PA residents: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/you.stonybrook.edu/dist/a/4436/files/2020/04/COVID-19-Form_PA_Fill.pdf
Medical Assistance (MA) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during COVID-19
From the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, this page offers information and assistance for those with questions about COVID-19 related health care charges and MA or CHIP programs. For example, will Coronavirus testing be covered? What about services related to the viral infection? Will you lose Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) if you are furloughed? Go to the resource here: https://www.phlp.org/en/news/covid-19-freqently-asked-questions
Plain Language Resources
ASSERT Health and Safety Guide, Video and Additional Resources
This page includes a guide and video in plain language information about keeping one’s self safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a wealth of other related information as well. This link takes you to the page: https://paautism.org/resource/coronavirus-resources/
Coronavirus COVID-19 Video
The Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services created a short video that explains COVID-19 in plain language.
Plain Language Information on COVID-19
By Green Mountain Self-Advocates this 8 page booklet was created by and for people with developmental disabilities. It focuses on “need to know” information (not “nice to know” information). Go to the booklet: https://selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus-accessible-.pdf
Plain Language Guide
Created by medical students in collaboration with Pittsburgh Center for Autism Advocacy , and vetted by two infectious disease doctors at the University of Pittsburgh and other experts, this plain language guide describes what COVID-19 is and what to do if a person experiences symptoms. To download the guide, go to: https://tinyurl.com/urwy9xr
Produced by AID in PA this guide reviews important aspects of the COVID crisis in plain language for self-advocates. Download the Self Advocates Guide.
Additional Resources for People with Disabilities
Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ 66746, TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing is 1-800-846-8517 to get help and support for any distress that you or someone you care about may be feeling related to any disaster. The free helpline and Text Services are: available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round and is answered by trained crisis counselors.
– On the internet go to disasterdistress.samhsa.gov
– Download a PDF brochure for Disaster Distress Helpline
Office of Developmental Programs COVID-19 Page
This frequently updated page includes all information from ODP regarding the Coronavirus. Go to the resource: https://www.myodp.org/mod/page/view.php?id=26808
Person Directed Services Toll-free Phone Line for Questions
PDS are home and community-based services that can help people of all ages, and all disabilities maintain independence and choose the supports they need to live their best life. Do you want to learn more? Do you already direct your own services and want to share your experience? Are you new to self-direction, or thinking about trying it and have lots of questions? Call toll free 1-833-346-5150 or email PDSS@temple.edu
Communication Supports from The Patient-Provider Communication Forum
A free bank of communication supports to patients and their health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Includes various levels of communication boards and tools for those who have difficulty communicating in the hospital setting and regarding healthcare choices. Link to the resource here: https://www.patientprovidercommunication.org/covid-19-free-tools.htm
Covid-19 Core Communication Boards
TechOwls has created this free resource for medical communication. You can order a laminated board to be sent to you to use during communication with medical professionals regarding COVID-19. To read about and order the board go to: https://aaccommunity.net/2020/03/covid-19-board/
CDC Preventing Coronavirus in Sign Language
The resource below was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and describes several Coronavirus prevention tips in American Sign Language.
Community HealthChoices (CHC) Updates
The PA Department of Health Office of Long Term Living has an email Listserv to provide ongoing guidance and information on the CHC program, including on the COVID-19. Click here to go to Listserv Archives or to sign up: http://listserv.dpw.state.pa.us/oltl-community-healthchoices.html
BULLETIN: Civil Rights, HIPAA, and the Coronavirus Disease
From the Office of Civil Rights in Action, Health and Human Services (HHS), this directive outlines civil rights reminders for entities in their interactions with people who have disabilities during the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability in HHS funded health programs or activities. The directive reiterates that persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative “worth” based on the presence or absence of disabilities. Link to read the HHS directive: https://tinyurl.com/tezrys9
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) COVID-19 Resources
From NACDD, these resources include some multilingual resources. Link to NACDD page: https://www.nacdd.org/news/covid-19-resources/#more-5893
Resources for Families
The PEAL Center Coronavirus Resource page
Information and no-cost resources easily accessible to families.
Click to go to PEAL Center’s Page: https://pealcenter.org/peals-covid-19-resource-page/
Five Things To Know COVID-19 School Closures & Students with Disabilities
School closures have had a significant impact on students with disabilities and their families. Education Law Center is offering a new resource “5 Things to Know: COVID-19 School Closures and Students with Disabilities.” To download the guide go to: https://www.elc-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/5-Things-to-Know-Students-with-Disabilities.pdf
Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, the Office of Civil Rights published a fact sheet for education leaders on how to protect students’ civil rights as school leaders take steps to keep students safe and secure. Go to the factsheet: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocr-coronavirus-fact-sheet.pdf
Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times
This booklet shared seven strategies support strategies are designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism during this period of uncertainty. Go to the booklet: https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/sites/afirm.fpg.unc.edu/files/covid-resources/Supporting%20Individuals%20with%20Autism%20through%20Uncertian%20Times%20Full%20Packet.pdf
Resources for Direct Service Professionals
COVID-19 Toolkit For Direct Service Professionals (DSPs)
From the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, this toolkit page is dedicated to supporting direct service professionals with self care information and additional resources for individuals. It includes a 3 part webinar series on self-care for DSPs and more. Link to DSP toolkit: https://nadsp.org/covid-19resources/