Letter: Don’t Make People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Go To The Hospital Alone

Please join us in asking Governor Lamont to issue uniform guidance that will permit the loved ones or caregivers of adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including autism and behavioral disorders, to accompany that person in the event of hospitalization during the current COVID-19 crisis. 

The hospitalization of a person with I/DD- even in less trying times- can create problems that quickly spiral out of control, leading to sedation and restraint.  This is difficult for everyone involved and it imposes huge burdens on hospital staff that, in the current crisis, is already stretched to the breaking point.  Permitting a trusted person to accompany a person with I/DD will make treatment far easier and more efficient, while at the same time being more compassionate for the person needing treatment.

Connecticut currently has a compassionate exception in place, but it is only for paid staff to accompany people with I/DD who reside in group homes (CLAs) or other residential facilities supported by the DDS.

On the other hand, the State of New York, which Connecticut has closely allied itself throughout this crisis, has developed a clear Guidance on Hospital Visitation Policies that requires hospitals to permit a patient-support person for people with I/DD regardless of where they reside or who supports them. People with I/DD in CT deserve those same protections. 

We fully appreciate the strain that state officials, and all people on the frontline of this crisis are under, but we can so easily foresee the needless suffering that will occur if people with I/DD- most of whom have never faced a challenge like hospitalization on their own- are left to fend for themselves during the middle of an unprecedented health crisis. Please contact Governor Lamont today. 

Win Evarts, Connecticut ARC Executive Director

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