HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Those who have a child with an intellectual disability know that they need you 24-7.
If they happen to be diagnosed with coronavirus, caregivers won’t be allowed in the hospital room.
There are some advocates who have been looking to change that, and just this week, 900 emails were sent to the governor's office about the issue
“It's just a really scary time,” said Brooke Daly, who has a 7-year-old son with intellectual disabilities. “He has down syndrome, autism, and he's non-verbal so he can’t advocate for himself at all. He can't tell you what's wrong. And he's afraid of going to the dentist or doctor in a normal or typical scenario.”
Parents of children with intellectual disabilities like Daly are concerned about the no visitors rule at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Things can take a bad turn very quickly, so we are trying to ensure, God forbid they do have to go into the hospital, that we can be there to help them and comfort them,” Daly said.
There is an exception to the no-visitation rule.
People with intellectual disabilities who live in group homes can have an aid with them, but it is not the same for those who live at home with family members or a caregiver.
The ARC Connecticut board member Tom Fiorentino, along with others, have been working to change the no visitors rule for the past weeks.
“Either their mom or their dad, have been there with them for everything and now, in the biggest crisis in their life, they're by themselves. It's cruel to do that,” Fiorentino said.
His 29-year-old son Dan has down syndrome, and does a lot on his own, but there are important things his parents help him with.
"He has never in his 29 years had to deal with anything like hospitalization on his own," Fiorentino said. "His mom or dad has had him by the hand and what our currently policy is - we are going to rip that hand away."
Recently, neighboring New York state said it was now allowing those with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a patient-support person with them. The support person is deemed essential to the care of the patient.
Advocates want Connecticut to follow suit.
"We have to act now. This isn't something we can say, in a year from now, we might need to change," Fiorentino said. "The thing we are worried about is here and the policy needs to change now."
On Thursday, the Department of Developmental Services said they are aware of the situation and said they're in support of doing this, saying "DDS continues to engage with the administration, the Department of Public Health, and the Connecticut Hospital Association to work toward a resolution."
If you’d like to help, there is a petition you can sign by clicking here. You can also contact your local state representative.
In a statement on Friday, the Dept. of Public Health said "DDS, CT Hospital Association and DPH participated on a conference call again yesterday to discuss allowing a support person to accompany an intellectually disabled individual to the Emergency Department and during hospital admissions. Both agencies recognize the importance of caring for individuals and balancing the needs of the individual and the needs of the hospital. They are balancing the rights of the individual and safety. The agencies will communicate with their members and will be finalizing something next week."