How Do I Communicate with Doctors, Nurses, and Staff at the Hospital During COVID- 19?

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how will you be able to talk to doctors, nurses and others at the hospital? Going to the hospital will be very different during the pandemic.

In normal times, hospitals must give services that help you understand what is being said and are supposed to ask you what services you need. This might include in-person sign language interpreters, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), lip-reading, written communications, hand-held amplification devices, captioning or CART, or speech-to-text apps.


Now, during the pandemic, most hospitals are seeing a large number of patients and often cannot provide the same services. Many hospitals will not allow in-person interpreters, family members, or visitors to come into the hospital. You may be alone for a long time when you are in the hospital.


Most doctors and nurses in hospitals now wear masks and gloves and may talk to you from behind a window or curtain, so it may be harder for you to understand them.


You have the right to decide your care. This means you will need to know a few things and bring your own communication tools to the hospital during the pandemic.