Thanks to the ADA - Hospital Visits During COVID

  • July 3, 2020

The novel Caronavirus has been difficult for all, but has been especially difficult for people with disabilities.  Because of COVID-19, initially visitors were not allowed at hospitals. For example, a person with an intellectual or communication disability could not bring a support person with them to help explain their medical condition.  

DRT believed that bringing a support person to a hospital for a person with a disability was a reasonable and necessary modification under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On June 3, 2020, the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and the Tennessee Department of Health (DOH) issued a letter strongly encouraging all hospitals to allow persons with disabilities to bring a support person with them to hospitals. You can read the full letter here.

After outreach and advocacy efforts, some hospitals around the state began making exceptions to their “no visitors” policy to allow persons with disabilities to bring a support person with them to hospital visits. Now, individuals with disabilities can have their loved ones with them at a hospital to help support their communication, emotional, and physical needs. 

If you want guidnace for navigating a hospital visit during COVID-19 with a perons with a disability who requires a support person, you might find our tip sheet helpful. Check that out here


Image description: A doctor holds up an xray to show two people sitting in the office. 


Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides free legal advocacy services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

Middle Tennessee (Admin Office)

2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217

Phone: 615-298-1080
Fax: 615-298-2046

East Tennessee

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Knoxville, TN 37923

Phone: 865-670-2944
Fax: 865-470-7028

West Tennessee

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Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: 901-458-6013
Fax: 901-249-2933