UPDATE: Allowing parents or caregivers to accompany a person with I/DD into a hospital

Posted by The Arc of North Carolina

The Arc of North Carolina was recently featured in two news articles that appeared in The News and Observer and North Carolina Health News. John Nash, Executive Director and Lisa Poteat, Deputy Director, spoke with reporters about the importance of people with I/DD having a parent or caregiver with them in a hospital or acute care setting.

Both articles featured stories from families who were not allowed to be in the hospital once their child was admitted. One of the families gave a copy of a letter written by The Arc of NC to hospital personnel and were told they could not enter the hospital. That letter (which can be seen in the previous blog post dated April 14, 2020) cites federal statutes which say that people with disabilities have a right to have a parent or caregiver with them in a hospital or acute care setting.

We are relieved that two of the mothers were eventually allowed to be with their children; however, a parent should not have to be “allowed” to see their child. They should be with them, especially if the parent or the caregiver is the voice for a person with I/DD.

Over the past few weeks, the NC Department of Health and Human Services worked on new guidance addressing the need for parents and caregivers to be allowed into hospitals.

The Arc of North Carolina appreciates the state’s response but does not feel that it is strong enough and our fear is that this will continue to happen. We stand by people with I/DD who have the legal right to have a parent or caregiver with them during any hospitalization for any reason.

We expect that hospitals would adhere to the guidance from the US DHHS Office of Civil Rights. If that guidance is not followed, we encourage parents or caregivers to contact The Arc of North Carolina, Disability Rights North Carolina, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Read articles here and here