A Toronto hospital has denied 69-year-old Tommy Jutcovich his main means of communication - an iPad - by calling it a "surveillance tool". This is a gross human rights violation.
One hour a day is NOT enough to communicate with hospital staff and with his family. That is all the time they are giving him on his augmentative and alternative communication device.
In an impassioned plea, Tommy's daughter begged for help. His family is unable to visit Tommy during the pandemic. The iPad is Tommy's connection to the outside world, his mental health support, and his voice. By taking away his AAC device, the hospital staff are silencing him for 23 hours each day. This impacts his care, with no way to raise new concerns or communicate his symptoms and pain.
When a disabled elder has difficulties speaking or moving, with no family around, he is extremely vulnerable to abuse and medical neglect. People in hospitals, institutions, and long-term care homes should have the right to document their care for their own safety.
1) Sign & share the petition
Tommy Jutcovich’s family has started a petition to demand TGHC to give him access to his primary communication device: http://chng.it/5WNDXCrbrb
2) Contact the Toronto Grace Health Centre to tell them that #CommunicationIsARight and #AACSavesLives!
Online form: http://www.torontograce.org/about-tghc/contact-tghc/
Patricia Skol - Director, Quality, Patient Experience, Professional Practice & Chief Nursing Executive (CNE)
Phone: 416-925-2251 ext 219
Jake Tran - President & CEO
Phone: 416-925-2251 ext 295
Sample script for AAC users:
Hello Toronto Grace Health Centre,
I am writing to you to urge hospital staff to give Tommy Jutcovich access to his iPad for communicating with staff and with his family.
I am an AAC user. That means that like Tommy, I also cannot rely on oral speech reliably to communicate, and use augmentative and alternative communication.
One hour a day, at the whim of hospital staff schedules, is not enough for a person to be able to communicate through their ideal means. This means 23-hours of silencing a person's voice. That is an act of violence.
During COVID-19 physical distancing measures, an iPad is Tommy's connection with his family, his religion, and the outside world. Allowing him only an inconsistent hour of time with his family per day is callous and inhumane.
This is a gross human rights violation: both in denying Tommy a connection with his family and in denying his right to communicate.
I strongly urge TGHC to reconsider their decision to harm their patient by denying access to communication.
Ironically, TGHC is a member of Safer Healthcare Now, a "national campaign to promote improvements in patient safety". They have a campaign to #ConquerSilence. We encourage people to submit their concerns about TGHC to this campaign.
Hey @TorontoGraceHC, how can you claim to #ConquerSilence as a member of @Patient_Safety when you are actively silencing a non-speaking disabled elder patient by taking away his #AAC device 23 hours a day? Give Tommy Jutcovich his iPad! Let him speak to his family! #AACSavesLives
3) Share our 5 calls to action about communication access in hospitals with your MPs & provincial/territorial reps.
We have linked tools to help you contact your representatives.
This was in light of the recent death of Ariis Knight in BC, who was denied access to support staff and family who helped facilitate her communication.
4) Sign A4A Ontario's petition on patient access to AAC in hospitals: