Lo sentimos. Aún no hemos traducido esta página al español. Avísenos si desea que esto sea una prioridad y traduciremos la página lo antes posible.

We're sorry. We have not yet translated this page into Spanish. Please let us know if you want us to make it a priority and we will work to translate it as soon as possible.

Solicitar traducción Request translation

Gracias, su solicitud ha sido presentada. Thank you, your request has been submitted.

GCDE COVID-19 resources

We act as a resource for the public in addressing disability-related issues. This includes, but is not limited to, emergency management information with regards to the current COVID-19 epidemic affecting our state and country. Below are some resources shared with us from our statewide partners that view this issue from the disability lens. This page will be updated as further information becomes available, so please be sure to check back in.

Resources on this page include: The CIEP Situational Report | How to talk about COVID-19 with a loved one | Resources for Managing Stress | Plain Language Booklet | Temporary Medicare Telehealth Expansion |  ASL/captioned educational videos about the COVID-19 pandemic Back-up Caregivers and Personal Emergency Response System | Communication Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at the Hospital During COVID-19 Pandemic | New electronic portal to assist people on SSI and other non-filers | Other Resources 


 The Coalition on Inclusive Emergency Planning (CIEP) Situational Report

This resource covers everything from Access & Functional Needs Considerations to Communicating Health Information. For a full list of topics included in the report, see the list below. 

Items included:

  • Overview

  • Access & Functional Needs Considerations

  • Populations of Concern

  • Greater Transmission Risks

  • Quarantine Considerations

  • Communicating Health Information

  • CIEP Activities

It includes cited sources from Business Insider and The Seattle Times, in addition to the Washington State Independent Living Council (WASILC). It was developed in collaboration with the Idaho SILC and FEMA Region 10 Disability Integration Specialist. 

To view the full report, click the link to the version shared with the GCDE Newsletter.

Please send access and functional needs questions to jim.house@dshs.wa.gov or call 360.339.7435. You can also go to the CIEP website for more information.


How to talk about COVID-19 with a loved one

This resource comes from a COVID-19 newsletter update designed to support King County's developmental disabilities community and addressed to the King County Parent and Family Coalition members. It covers everything from how to Create a household plan, view Online resources, and know Warning signs. For a full list of topics included, see the list below.

  • How to explain the Corona virus epidemic to those you care for (from the perspective of a former biomedical researcher and educator)

  • Creating a household plan of action

  • Helpful links and a toll-free hotline

  • Symptoms and warning signs

Links include the CDC preparedness website, the King County Public Health website, and the DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) website, as well as language support.

To view the full report, click the link to the version shared with the GCDE Newsletter. 

For more information, contact Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy at rhattendorf@arcofkingcounty.org or view the Arc of King County Advocacy website

To subscribe to the GCDE Newsletter, click this link


Resources for managing stress

Coping with stress (CDC)

Taking care of your emotional health (CDC)



Plain Language Booklet

This easy to read booklet about the Coronavirus is from SARTAC. It is in English and Spanish. It was written by and for people with developmental disabilities. It focuses on “need to know” information (not “nice to know” information). Our goal is to keep people with disabilities healthy during this national crisis. 


Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to COVID-19


Medicare and telehealth benefits


Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to COVID-19.

Medicare beneficiaries can temporarily use telehealth services for common office visits, mental health counseling and preventive health screenings. This will help ensure Medicare beneficiaries are able to visit with their doctor from their home, without having to go to a doctor's office or hospital, which puts themselves and others at risk.  

If you have an existing healthcare appointment, or think you need to see your doctor, please call them first to see if your appointment can be conducted over a smartphone with video capability or any device using video technology, like a tablet or a laptop. For some appointments, a simple check-in over the phone without video capabilities may suffice.

Important: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.

Get more info

Remember: Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.

For the latest information on the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


ASL/captioned educational videos about the COVID-19 pandemic

The Washington Department of Health has released a series of eight ASL/captioned educational videos about the COVID-19 pandemic and includes information on how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus. Here are the YouTube listings available now.  Watch for this on Facebook and other social media.


Back-up Caregivers and Personal Emergency Response System

Did You Know?

Developmental Disabilities Administration

March 27, 2020

Did You Know: Back-up Caregivers and Personal Emergency Response System


The Developmental Disabilities Administration wants you to have information about back-up caregivers and personal emergency response systems.

Click on the link to find out more about:

  • What to do if your caregiver is unable to provide care;

  • What is PERS?

  • Who can receive this service?

  • How do I get this service?

  • How do I find a provider?

Backup Caregivers and Personal Emergency Response Systems

This edition of Did You Know was brought to you by the DDA Communications Unit.  Let us know if you have feedback or ideas for future topics!


Communication Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at the Hospital During COVID-19 Pandemic

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how will you be able to talk to doctors, nurses and others at the hospital? This guide is to help you get ready for your hospital visit.


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:

  • Print out a page saying you are deaf, hard of hearing, or DeafBlind and need hospital staff to communicate with you differently. A sample page (placard) is below.

  • If you have a smartphone, load the apps you need to communicate, and bring your smartphone with you.

    • Before you go to the hospital, download several VRI apps and/or speech-to-text apps. Some of those apps are free.

    • A list of apps is available below.

    • Test the apps at home before you go to the hospital.

    • Keep in mind you may have to use your smartphone using your cellular connection only1 in case the hospital does not have WiFi.

    • When you get to the hospital, ask hospital staff to let you use their WiFi, and to put you in an area with strong WiFI.

    • Tell hospital staff to communicate with you through your smartphone with VRI or speech-to-text apps.

  • If you do not have a smartphone, bring or ask hospital staff for something to write on and pens or markers.

  • Bring an emergency bag with items you need to communicate. Label the bag and items with your name. Leave space on the label to add your hospital room number. The emergency bag can include:

    • Paper and pens or markers

    • Plugs and chargers for your smartphone

    • Tablets and/or laptops and chargers

    • A cellular hotspot in case the hospital WiFi is not working

    • An extension cord or power strip in case your bed is far from an outlet

    • Extra eyewear supplies you might need, such as reading glasses to read the speech to text on a phone app

    • Extra batteries for your hearing aid, cochlear implant, or assistive listening device

    • A copy of your advance medical directive, if you have one. You can find more information and instructions to make an advance directive on AARP’s website

    • Emergency contact information for family members or friends

If the hospital staff refuses to talk with you or respect your wishes, demand an “ethics consultation.”  

Contact ConsumerGroups@DHHCAN.org for help.

| List of Apps and Tech. ToolsSample Placard to Bring to Hosp


New electronic portal to assist people on SSI and other non-filers

Today, the IRS released a new electronic portal to assist people on SSI and other non-filers in receiving their stimulus payments.  Individuals can go to the portal, enter their personal information, and that information will be utilized to send them a stimulus payment: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here. 

Fact Sheet



Other resources

(back to GCDE home)