The current COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional situation. It requires adjustments and preventive measures, particularly for people with disabilities and their loved ones. Indeed, because of their health conditions, many people with disabilities may be vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, it is important for them to adopt preventive measures adapted to their situation and specific needs. The same is true for their family and friends as well as for the various service providers.
If you are a person with a disability or the parent of a child with a disability, information about COVID-19 is available in various accessible formats so that you can learn about the measures you can take to prevent the spread of the virus.
The purpose of the Self-care Guide is to help you make the best possible decisions for your health and that of your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. A section of the guide deals with care for people with disabilities. The Guide is available in various accessible formats, including a version in Quebec Sign Language (langue des signes québécoise – LSQ). It is also possible to order copies in Braille, large print and audio formats.
- Go to the Self-care Guide - COVID-19 page to consult the guide in the different accessible formats, depending on your needs.
Among the health instructions to be followed, it is important to wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or with an alcohol-based hand rub, especially when coming in from outside.
Wearing a mask or face covering
Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory in many enclosed or partially enclosed public places and on public transit for people age 12 and over. Some people, such as those whose medical condition prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering or those who are unable to put it on or take it off by themselves, are not required to wear one.
A face covering with a window can also be used to facilitate communication with people with disabilities. Moreover, you can make this type of face covering yourself quite easily.
- Visit the page Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to find out when, where, why and how to use one as well as how to make the different models, including the model with a window.
- Use the simplified illustrated version on wearing a mask to explain how to put on and remove a mask safely.
You are encouraged to properly disinfect, or have disinfected, on a regular basis all assistive devices that you or your disabled child use outside your home. These include wheelchairs, canes, walkers, adapted strollers and other aids used for getting around as well as those used for communication.
Prepare your family and friends you in case you get COVID-19. For example, make sure that your family members and loved ones have the necessary information about your health and your needs. They will be able to pass it on to the health care staff if necessary. This may include information about your medications, your assistance needs, your interpretation services or how to communicate with you. If you have a guide dog or service dog, check with the organization that assigned it to you to see what resources or shelters are available for your dog should you need to be hospitalized.
It is also important to put specific measures adapted to your condition in place for the services you receive at home, particularly for the people you employ under the service employment paycheque arrangement. You can discuss the measures that have to be put in place with your service providers, depending on the services you need, including hygiene services. For more information, visit the page Service employment paycheque: an arrangement for the delivery of home care support services.
If you are a parent, plan for the help you may need to care of your disabled child in case you get sick. Check the services available in your community and note your child's various needs, if someone else has to take over to ensure adequate support and care.
People with disabilities living in an intermediate or family-type resource (RI-RTF) or CHSLD, as well as their loved ones, must follow specific instructions. You can find out the guidelines in effect, particularly for visits from an informal caregiver and the assistance they are allowed to provide, from the residence, the people in charge of your facility or the institution. To learn more, visit the page People who are hospitalized or who live in CHSLD, RI-RTF or RPA during COVID-19 pandemic.
Facilitating communication and access to services
When you go into a store, a grocery store or a place offering services, and you need someone to accompany you, do not hesitate to tell the staff at the reception desk. Explain why you cannot follow the 2-metre distancing rule with this person. The same applies if your health, your condition or your child's condition means that you cannot wear a face covering. You can tell the staff at the reception desk or when you make an appointment for certain types of services or care. To learn more, see the Feuillet d’information à l’intention des personnes ayant besoin d’un accompagnateur pour se déplacer – COVID-19 [Information sheet for people who need to be accompanied to get around – COVID-19; in French only].
If you have a hearing impairment and are unable to lip read because people you meet are wearing face coverings, do not hesitate to let them know and suggest ways they can communicate with you. You can also tell your family and friends how to make a face covering with a window. This type of face covering may also be useful for people with an autism spectrum disorder, an intellectual disability or a cognitive impairment who need to see the other person’s facial expression to communicate better.
One way to keep informed about the situation is to pay attention to official government communications on COVID-19. Press briefings are broadcast live on the Assembléé nationale website and on government social networks. They are translated simultaneously into LSQ. Afterwards, they are available in full text version on the page Conférences et points de presse [Press conferences and briefings; in French only] on the Assemblée nationale site. The infographics prepared by the government are also available in text version on the Premier’s Facebook page (in French only).
A variety of useful information for people with disabilities is also disseminated by community organizations and institutions in the health and social services network. Several tools are produced in accessible formats, in particular in LSQ. For example, the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal has produced several videos in LSQ that provide general information on COVID-19, instructions and measures to be applied as well as advice. The videos are available on the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal’s YouTube channel (in French only).
Help and resources
Do not hesitate to ask for help or support if you need it to overcome the difficulties that the COVID-19 situation may create. For advice and to find out about the resources available to help you cope with the current situation, visit the page Protecting your well-being in the COVID-19 pandemic. This section is also available in LSQ.
You are in mourning for a loved one because of the pandemic – Simplified illustrated version
This document explains the mourning in a simplified, pictorial version for people with an intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and their families to facilitate their understanding.
Do you need help accessing services? Would you like to know what programs are available? Contact the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec (OPHQ), which can answer your questions and provide support.
- Telephone: 1 800 567‑1465 (toll free, throughout Quebec)
- TTY: 1 800 567‑1477
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- OPHQ website (the website is in French, but some OPHQ publications are available in English)
You can also contact the integrated health and social services centre (CISSS) or the integrated university health and social services centre (CIUSSS) in your territory for support and help as well as for information on the resources available in your region. For the contact information for your CISSS or CIUSSS, go to the page Finding Your CISSS or Your CIUSSS .
Last update: August 6, 2020