I truly hope that you and your family have remained well during these difficult and unprecedented weeks. Everyone is in unfamiliar territory and navigating through continued uncertainty. From our communities’ medical professionals, to our neighborhoods’ essential workers, and ourselves – we are all working to serve our communities and looking forward to better days ahead. But, in a crisis, in times of confusion and fear, protections and safety nets can be forgotten or disappear.

May 5th is #GivingTuesdayNow – a global day of giving and unity to boost support for the nonprofit community working behind the scenes during crises, such as COVID-19. In the weeks leading up to today, DLC has been working hard since the pandemic was declared to protect the rights of people with disabilities and to prevent abuses and neglect. We have:

  • Partnered with other agencies to address reasonable accommodations in hospital visitation policies for people with disabilities. Read letter here.
  • In partnership with MHLAC, DLC Initiated an investigation of the rights, health, and safety of patients at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital. Read letter here.
  • Initiated and continue to actively monitor conditions within and concerns raised by persons served in facilities, including Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, Bridgewater State Hospital, Vibra Hospitals, Hogan Regional Center, and Tewksbury Hospital.
  • Collaborated with disability rights partners to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in the treatment of COVID-19 (medical rationing and access to pharmaceuticals).

DLC’s advocacy work includes:

  • Initiating investigations on conditions in congregate care facilities where people with disabilities reside based on reports related to COVID-19 infection and deteriorating conditions for patients and residents.
  • Advocating for the establishment of DDS and DMH staffing practice protocols that protect staff from transmitting COVID-19 to group home and shared living residents.

Even in a crisis, people with disabilities have the right to live, work, learn, and access their community without discrimination or increased safety risks due to COVID-19.

People with disabilities are a large part of the community and cannot be forgotten. Here are a few things you can do to support your community and protect people with disabilities from abuse and neglect while physically distancing yourself during this time:

  •  Participate in #GivingTuesdayNow. Donate to DLC’s COVID-19 efforts – any amount will help!
  •  Alert DLC to potential abuse and neglect through DLC’s website or email address – mail@dlc-ma.org.
  •  Share our website, contact information, or information page with someone who might need it.

Thank you for all your support and please stay safe!


Marlene Sallo
Executive Director
Disability Law Center


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