Focus Group Findings: Pandemic Response Inaccessible

Co-creating the future of healthcare is 🔑 to equitable access for deaf and hard of hearing communities. Today, DeafHealth unveils its most recent Findings from focus groups in Minnesota examining what our communities need in public health crises, specifically vaccine experiences. We found three consistent cultural needs:  

1️. Need for tailored, accessible communication strategies.  

2. Standardized access to accommodations and interpreters.  

3. Desire for consistent and current information. 

We received grant funding from the Minnesota Department of Health to investigate and improve access to resources and knowledge on COVID-19 and vaccination for our deaf communities. Read the full report here.

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description: The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The middle has a text bubble that reads “What do we need for future crises?” in white text with rose background. In the video: A woman with long brown hair pulled back and a black shirt faces the camera. 

Transcript: I love our focus groups. That opportunity to sit down with a group, engage, listen, consider different perspectives, identify consistencies, and witness our beautiful communities. DeafHealth prioritizes focus groups and community listening. We just published the findings report of our most recent focus group in Minnesota. We found three powerful themes: Theme 1: Need for tailored, accessible communication strategies catered to our community needs. Theme 2: Standardized access to interpreters and accommodations. Theme 3: Desire for consistent and current information. Curious to learn more? Click the link below or sign up for updates to participate in the next focus group. [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.]

What's Long Covid?

Still struggling with symptoms post-COVID-19? You might be dealing with Long COVID. Long COVID is when symptoms last long after the initial infection, even months after recovery.

Common Symptoms:

What to do if you think you’ve got Long COVID?

1️⃣ Consult your doctor: Share your symptoms with them.
2️⃣ Rest and slow down: Don't overexert; prioritize self-care.
3️⃣ Nutrition and hydration: Eat well, stay hydrated.
4️⃣ Mental health matters: Seek support for your mental well-being.

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “Do you have LONG Covid? in white text with rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a blue velvet shirt with clear framed glasses.

Transcript:

Have you been sick with COVID? Do you still feel symptoms since then? It may be Long COVID. What’s Long COVID? Long COVID is when you still have the symptoms even past the time of infection, even months later. Long COVID can be unpredictable and challenging. Common symptoms may look like: Constant fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, muscle and joint pain, loss of taste/smell, and heart palpitations. What should you do if you think you have Long COVID? 1. Ask your doctor and share your experience/symptoms. 2. Rest and prioritize self care. 3. Eat and drink well, nourish your body to help recover. 4. If you are struggling emotionally, seek mental health support. Remember, you are not alone. [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.].]

What are False Negatives?

False negatives with COVID-19 tests are very common and can be frustrating! How can we avoid false negatives? Here’s how:

️1️⃣ Swab your throat and saliva: They appear positive days before the nose!

2️⃣ Repeat the test: 2 tests within 48 hours catch 92% of cases that show symptoms. P.S. Remember, if you get a positive, you're contagious! Isolate for at least 5 days and wear a mask.

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “How do you avoid false negatives” in white text with a rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is standing in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a blue velvet shirt with clear rimmed glasses.

Transcript:

Did you get a false negative COVID-19 test? False negatives are very common! Here are two steps on how to avoid false negatives. First, swab your throat and saliva, instead of your nose. Your throat will appear positive days before your nose! Second, take the test again! Taking two tests within a 48 hour period will detect 92% of cases that show symptoms. Remember, if you are positive for COVID-19. You will need to isolate for at least 5 days and use a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19! [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.]

Focus Group Findings: Pandemic Response Inaccessible

🚨 This is what inaccessibility looks like during a pandemic for deaf people.

Through our focus groups, many participants shared similar experiences and identified the following themes addressing accessibility and trust:

1️. A centralized, accessible hub;
2. Unbiased and transparent information;
3. Cultural and linguistic appropriateness; and
4. A right to advocacy and bridging gaps with public officials.

We recently received grant funding from the Minnesota Department of Health to investigate and improve access to resources and knowledge on COVID-19 and vaccination for our deaf communities. Read the full report here.

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The middle has a text bubble that reads “The stark reality of a pandemic” in white text with rose background. In the video: A woman with long blonde hair is sitting in front of the camera and she is wearing a black shirt and pink lipstick.

Transcript:

This is what inaccessibility looks like in a pandemic for deaf people: Confusing varied sources of information. Few, qualified trustworthy sources. Lack of cultural & linguistic appropriate information in ASL. Difficulty in bridging gaps. These experiences were unfortunately extremely common. We recently received a grant from the State of Minnesota to investigate and improve access with services and knowledge related toCOVID-19 and vaccination for our deaf communities. When we hosted focus groups to gather your experiences and perspectives, there was unanimous agreement on having had similar experiences. It is critical for us to document these findings and share with state and federal government, policy makers, and decision makers so they can better understand our experiences and needs and how we can improve the healthcare system. We are ready to lead that change.  [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.].]

Check the Expiration Date on Your COVID Test!

Sick? Think you might have COVID-19?

Before using that old test kit stashed away in the back of your cabinet, check the expiration date! 📆

The FDA has extended expiration dates for some tests. You can check by finding the test’s lot number and checking it on the FDA’s website.

If the test is expired, get a new test. Otherwise, you may not get accurate results!

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The top middle has “Check the expiration date on your COVID-19 test!" in white text with a rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a blue velvet with clear rimmed glasses.

Transcript:

I’m feeling sick and I think it’s Covid-19, but I tested negative. So, now I’m not sure what I’m sick with? Really, negative? Have you checked the expiration date of your test yet? I actually didn’t know that, where do I find the expiration date? You should be able to see the expiration date on the bottom right corner of the back. Wow, my box says the expiration date is June 2022! You might need to take the test again using a more recent box. Wow I did not know this at all! Did you know? (She shows a Covid-19 test) Don’t be like me and check the expiration date before you take the test! However, your expiration date may not be accurate. The FDA has extended the expiration date on some boxes. How do you know if your expiration date is accurate? Use the LOT number on the back of the box and input this number on FDA’s official website. You will find out if it is accurate or not. If your text is expired, you may need to retake your test because your results will not be accurate. [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.] 

Sick? Now What?

The weather’s getting colder, and you know what that means? We’re sick more often! 🤧 It can be tricky to figure out if you’ve got a cold, flu, and COVID-19 since symptoms overlap. A doctor can help, and testing might be necessary to confirm COVID-19. 

If you’re feeling sick, here are a few tips: 

1️⃣  Isolate: Stay away from others to stop any spread. 

2️⃣  Monitor: Watch how you're feeling and get help if you feel worse. 

3️⃣  Test: Consider getting tested for COVID-19 to confirm or rule out infection. 

4️⃣  Ask: Not sure? Ask your doctor for guidance. 

Stay cozy, stay safe, and keep those germs under control!  

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “You’re sick, now what?” in white text with a rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a purple shirt with an orange light jacket and rose-gold glasses.

Transcript:

Weather is getting colder now! Which means we may all be getting sick more often. What should you do if you get sick? First thing you should do is isolate yourself! Stay away from others to prevent the spread of germs. Next, pay attention to your symptoms! If they suddenly get worse, contact your doctor. Third, get tested! Confirm whether you are positive or negative for COVID-19 or other infections. Lastly, if you are unsure about anything, contact your doctor for advice! Stay Healthy! [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.] 

Stay Healthy During the Holidays!

The holidays are around the corner! 🎉 Let's spread joy, not germs, this season. Take some simple steps to prevent COVID-19, flu, and other germs from spreading: 

1️⃣ Stay vaxxed: Stay up-to-date with vaccine recommendations. Not sure? Check info from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/index.html.  

2️⃣ Wash those hands: Handwashing for at least 20 seconds is your secret weapon! 

3️⃣ Stay home: If you're feeling under the weather, rest at home away from others. 

Have a healthy holiday!  

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “Stay healthy during the holidays!” in white text with a rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a purple shirt with an orange light jacket and rose-gold glasses.

Transcript:

The holidays are coming up! Her are a few tips to help you and others to stay healthy! First, make sure that you are up to date with recommended vaccinations! Second, wash your hands often! We recommend you wash your hands for more than 20 seconds. If you are sick, stay home! This is so important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu, and other germs! [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.]

What are Vaccinations?

How do vaccines work? They act as a shield to protect you from harmful viruses and germs! 🤧 Watch the video to learn more about how vaccines work.  

Vaccines, treatments, and testing for COVID-19 are available:  

1️⃣ Get Your Free COVID-19 Vaccine: Find where you can get vaccinated at: www.vaccines.gov.  

2️⃣ Find a Testing Location: Find COVID-19 tests at a place close to you at: www.testinglocator.cdc.gov. You can also order four free COVID-19 tests per household at www.covidtests.gov.  

3️⃣ Ask Your Doctor: If you’re sick or uncertain, ask your doctor to discuss next steps for treatment, such as medication that can prevent severe COVID-19. 

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “What are Vaccines!” in white text with rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front of the camera with shelves, books, and decorative items behind her. She is wearing a black V-neck shirt with clear framed glasses. 

Transcript:

What do vaccines do for you? Vaccines will help you shield your body and train your body to fight germs. Do you only get vaccinated once? No, because viruses can change and evolve over time. Getting annual vaccinations will “update” your body to be prepared to fight annual viruses and infections. If you aren’t sure if you need to get vaccinated, make sure to check in and clarify with your doctor. [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.]

Get Vaccinated with Us!

Ever wonder what it’s like to get a vaccine? Worry not, DeafHealth is here to give you the inside scoop – check it out! 

☝️ Don’t forget: The CDC encourages everyone to get vaccinated ASAP by mid-October. You can get your free COVID-19 vaccine by finding a place near you at: www.vaccines.gov.  

💉 Get double boosted! The CDC says it’s safe to get both COVID-19 and flu shots at the same time: www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/coadministration.htm.  

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “Get vaccinated with us!” in white text with rose background. In the video: A young woman with long blonde wavy hair is walking around and standing in a pharmacy for her COVID-19 and flu vaccination. She is wearing a dark blue dress with sunglasses.  

Transcript:

Today, we will get vaccinated! Ready? Come on! [The young woman is waiting at the pharmacy’s check in desk.] Now, we’re waiting for insurance forms and cards to be reviewed. If you don’t have insurance, you still can get a free COVID-19 vaccine through the federal government. [The young woman is sitting in the waiting room.] Now, we’re waiting for my turn! You should sign up for your vaccine online if you can – many places allow you to schedule an appointment for your vaccine. Sometimes you will be required to fill out forms and provide information such as if you have any allergies to the shots, your current address, and so on. [The pharmacist is giving the young woman her COVID-19 and flu shots.] Thumbs up! Thank you. [The young woman is standing in front of medication at the pharmacy.] I got two shots today for COVID-19 and flu. Yes – it's safe! The CDC recommends both shots at the same time because we have a tendency, as shown by research, to procrastinate. If we get one shot at one time, we are likely to postpone the second shot and forget. So, go ahead and get both shots at the same time! [The young woman is sitting in the car and shows her bandaid.] The CDC recommends that if you are high risk or have a weakened immune system, get your shots ASAP! For the general population, it’s recommended to get your shots by mid-October. Go get vaccinated NOW! [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.] 

Get Your Free COVID-19 Tests Now!

Don’t miss this opportunity! Get 4 free COVID tests at covidtests.gov! Hurry while supplies last - sign up here: covidtests.gov 

Stay Informed in ASL: We’ve got you covered! Sign up with your email at deafhealthaccess.org/sign-up or follow us on social media for new and current health updates. 

Video Description and Transcript

Video Description:

The post has a video thumbnail with blue shading overlaid. The top middle has “Get Free COVID-19 Tests!” in white text with a rose background. In the video: A young woman with brown shoulder length curly hair is sitting in front a green screen screenshot of the website covidtests.gov. She is wearing a black off the shoulder shirt with tank-top and clear rimmed glasses.

Transcript:

Grab this opportunity now! Get free COVID-19 tests at this website here! (she points to COVIDTests.gov). Sign up, type in your home address, and you will get 4 free COVID-19 tests for your household. Take advantage of this opportunity while supplies still last! [The screen fades to show a thumbnail of a faded white background of a doctor holding hands with another individual] Deaf. Healthy. DeafHealth. Learn more at www.deafhealthaccess.org.]