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Communication Access in Hospitals

Suggestions for People with Speech-Language Disabilities (SLDs)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There are a few things you can do to​ make it easier to communicate with healthcare providers.​​​​

  • Carry a communication access card (see Figure 1) to show to the receptionist or healthcare provider. You can ask them to make a copy and keep it in your file.
  • Get vocabulary ready in your device or on a communication display if you have time to plan your hospital visit. Your speech-language pathologist (SLP) or alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) clinician can help you with this.
  • Bring a communication assistant with you if you think you might need assistance. Think about who you want to have with you and when If needed, ask your healthca​re provider to find someone to assist you.
  • I understand everything you are saying and I make my own decisions.
  • I use a letter board to spell out what I want to say.

Accessibility includes communication.

Here are some things you can do so that we can communicate when I am using your services.


Thank you

Here is how you can help:
  • Make sure I have my letter board at all times when we are communicating.
  • It’s OK to ask me Yes and No questions but also ask me if I want to compose my own messages on my board.
  • Read my instructions on what to do when I use my communication board.
  • Make sure I can reach and use the call bell before you leave my bedside.

Figure 1: Sample Communication Acc​ess Card

Credits: Adapted from Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)​

Current as of: May 20, 2018

Author: Allied Health, Speech, Language, Hearing and Audiology, Alberta Health Services