Disability Considerations During COVID-19

April 16, 2020 by Iliari Alarcon

Disability Considerations During COVID-19

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus, to be a pandemic given the speed and scale of transmission. WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking steps to contain the outbreak. The impact of this disease could be greater in certain groups of the population, such as people with disabilities.

This impact can be mitigated by adopting some protective measures:

Minimize exposure to COVID-19 - how?

  • Avoid as much as possible environments with many people and minimize physical contact with others.
  • Take advantage of special hours that are offered to people with disabilities.
  • Shop online or ask your family, friends or caregivers for help so you don't have to be in places with many people.
  • Consider collecting essential items such as food, cleaning products, medications or medical supplies so that you do not have to go to public places.
  • Work at home if possible, especially if you generally work in a busy environment or with many people.
  • If you use assistive devices such as a wheelchair, cane, walker, transfer board, white cane, or any other product that is often touched and used in public spaces, make sure they are disinfected frequently.

Make a plan to ensure the care and support you need - what can I do?

  • If you depend on caregivers, consider expanding the group of caregivers whom you can call in case one or more become ill or must remain in isolation.
  • Find the organizations in your community that you can go to if you need help.
  • Talk to your family and friends about the support they can provide you and the situations in which you can turn to them.

What to do if I get COVID-19?

  • Make sure everyone in the household knows what to do if you get COVID-19 or need assistance.
  • Make sure that your household members, as well as your trusted friends and family, have all the important information they need if you get sick; for example, information about your health insurance, the medications you take, and the care your dependent family members (children, elderly parents, or pets) need.
  • Learn the relevant health services phone number and hotlines in case you have any questions or need non-emergency medical care.

And one last tip…

If any member of the household has symptoms of infection, they should remain in isolation, wear a mask and be tested as soon as possible. All surfaces must be disinfected, and all household members must be observed for symptoms. If possible, anyone with an underlying health problem or reduced immunity should be transferred to another location until the period of isolation ends.

Please take care of yourself and stay safe and sound at home.

Be resilient!

"Resilience is understood as the capacity of the human being to face life's adversities, overcome them and be positively transformed by them."
- Edith Grotberg

This article has been summarized based on the WHO Disability considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak [pdf]. Other resources can be found here and at Resna.org.

Iliari Alarcón Sales Representative Central America

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