By Jose Gonzalez Lopez: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The first step in requesting an accommodation in the workplace is to decide how to make the request. I often suggest employees consider making a written request so they can decide what to say and how to say it without the stress of a face-to-face meeting with their employer. However, writing such an initial request can feel intimidating and employees can get nervous about what to include in the letter and how to word it. At JAN, I often discuss options with employees about what might be useful to include and how to clearly explain what accommodation is needed.

As a starting point, JAN offers general guidance about writing an accommodation request letter, which lays out possible elements to include in the body of the letter. But for employees who need more ideas, the following examples offer additional guidance about how to communicate the need for an accommodation for various types of medical conditions. As you consider these examples, you may find it helpful to review How to Disclose a Disability and Request Accommodations in the Workplace on JAN’s page for Individuals, which also provides more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For accommodation ideas by disability or limitation, visit JAN’s A to Z page.

Food is Medicine Coalition Policy Priorities

From The Food is Medicine Coalition: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC) is a national coalition of nonprofits focused on the intersection of nutrition and healthcare, delivering medically tailored meals (MTM) and nutrition counseling and education to people in communities across the country who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Most FIMC agencies began 35 years ago at the height of the AIDS pandemic, serving people with HIV. In the years since, all have expanded their missions to serve all people living with severe illnesses.

Medically tailored meals (MTMs) are delivered to individuals living with severe illness through a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan. Meal plans are tailored to the medical needs of the recipient by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and are designed to improve health outcomes, lower cost of care and increase patient satisfaction. MTMs are delivered to an individual’s home. The Clinical Committee of FIMC, made up of credentialled RDNs from across the country, establishes and regularly updates the FIMC Medically Tailored Meal Nutrition Standards, which catalogue the nutrition quality of this evidence-based intervention.

Community Access Center’s (CAC) Modular Ramp Recycle Program

By AbilityTools Staff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

For about six months now, I have been plagued by a pinched nerve in my neck; aside from losing the use of my right arm and leg, my balance has also deteriorated drastically. As a result, I have been relying more and more on rollators to walk.

For someone with physical disability, durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, and rollators are often considered an extension of one’s body, not unlike glasses can be seen as an extension of one’s eyes, as a matter of fact, I often think of my smartphone as an extension of my brain! If one relies on a wheelchair to move around, then the size of one’s world can be limited by places inaccessible to the wheelchair; in some cases, even one’s own house.

One thing I’ve noticed while using rollators to walk is that whenever there is a threshold, more force has to be applied in order to force it over. And of course, rollators have to be carried up the stairs, which made me think that perhaps I did not give enough credit to our Modular ramp recycle programs.

I work as the Assistive Technology Specialist for the Community Access Center in Riverside, in terms of geography our service area is quite wide, from Corona in the west all the way to Blythe in the east. That also includes quite a few rural areas and reservations. I started my job here in 2009 and for the majority of the time working here, there has been this ramp that we run quite successfully – in terms of numbers, but since I am not a wheelchair user, its actual significance has escaped me.

Now that I have become a rollator user, I frequently wish that my rollator can climb the stairs with me, which brings us back to our Modular ramp recycle program; at the time of writing, Community Access Center has around 150 modular ramps circulating in the field. These modular ramps cost anywhere between $3000.00 and $5000.00 each, these price points can be well beyond the reach of someone on fixed income. To make the matter worse, a plurality of people on fixed income live in modular homes in mobile home parks, those modular homes typically have 3-4 steps with fairly steep inclines. In other words, if you are a wheelchair user living in modular homes, these ramps are a necessity.

To alleviate the above mentioned financial burden, the Community Access Center has purchased almost 150 modular ramps since 2014 for the purpose of loaning them out long term; they are yours to keep for as long as you need them, and when you decide that you no longer need the ramps, we will repossess them before loaning them to the next person that need them free of charge. In the almost ten years this program has been running, we lost only two modular ramps when the consumers passed away; So, our modular ramp recycling program has become a very crucial part of the Riverside community.

New Overdrive Libby app update offers enhanced accessibility options

By Sovan Mandal: For Complete Post, Click Here…

OverDrive said they have introduced some changes to the Libby app that are aimed at making it more accessible to all users, including those with visual, motor, or cognitive deficiencies. The company said they have taken inputs directly from those with visual defects – low vision to even blind individuals – thanks to their association with Fable to ensure the updates introduced to the Libby app makes it even more accessible to those with special needs.

OverDrive said they have also taken into account common industry standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG apart from inputs from Fable for devising the new features of the app. Fable happens to be an accessibility platform driven by people having disabilities which makes them an authority when it comes to defining the requirements of those with special needs.

Changes introduced to the new Libby app update include the Screen reader support which is for those with low to zero vision so that they too can read e-books and e-magazines or listen to audiobooks via the Libby app itself. While it is limited to screen readers on Android and iOS mobile apps, future versions that work with desktop screen readers like NVDA and JAWS are also being planned.

Then there is the Read From Here feature which is basically a real aloud feature so that the app will read aloud the e-book or magazine from that point where the Read From Here mode is invoked.

There is the Navigation Bar label feature too which lets users add captions beneath each of the navigation bar icons that show within an in-app menu. This will allow for ease in navigation though the feature is currently available only in the English language.

FEMA wants to give families up to $9,000 for COVID funerals, but many don’t apply

From AP: For Complete Post, Click Here…

When Wanda Olson’s son-in-law died in March after contracting COVID-19, she and her daughter had to grapple with more than just their sudden grief. They had to come up with money for a cremation.

Even without a funeral, the bill came to nearly $2,000, a hefty sum that Olson initially covered. She and her daughter then learned of a federal program that reimburses families up to $9,000 for funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID-19.

Olson’s daughter submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, received a deposit by June and was able to reimburse her mother the $1,974.

“Had this not been available, we would have been paying the money ourselves,” said Olson, 80, of Villa Rica, Georgia. “There wasn’t any red tape. This was a very easy, well-handled process.”

As of Dec. 6, about 226,000 people had shared in the nearly $1.5 billion that FEMA has spent on funeral costs that occurred after Jan. 20, 2020, the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. With the nation’s coronavirus death toll topping 800,000, it’s clear that many families who are eligible for reimbursement have yet to take advantage of the funeral benefit.

Olson’s son-in-law was traveling a lot, working on air conditioning systems in theaters, restaurants and businesses, when he began feeling ill, she said. After a few days at home, he went to the hospital and was put on a ventilator. He died several weeks later.

“He could never overcome it,” Olson said.

To be eligible for reimbursement, death certificates for those who died after May 16, 2020, must indicate that the death was attributed to COVID-19.

National Harm Reduction Coalition creates spaces for dialogue and action that help heal the harms caused by racialized drug policies.

By Monique Tula (she/her): For Complete Post, Click Here…

National Harm Reduction Coalition builds evidence-based strategies with and for people who use drugs.

End the Overdose Crisis

We have the tools to prevent fatal overdose deaths. National Harm Reduction Coalition ensures more communities have access to these tools.

Nearly 70,000 people died from drug overdose last year. The work of the Harm Reduction movement is a matter of life and death.

Learn more about our overdose prevention efforts.

Protecting Nursing Home Residents’ Right to Safe Visitations This Holiday Season

By Beverley Laubert: For Complete Post, Click Here…

In the midst of the holiday season, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered good news for residents of nursing homes across the country: Visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times.

Living in a long-term care facility, whether for short-term or long-term care, comes with many rights such as the right to receive quality care and services, to engage in activities of choice, and to receive visitors.

The value of social connection with family and friends has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic as visits were interrupted. It is clear that connection with friends and family are vital for residents’ quality of life. Following the infection prevention and control guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS has gradually updated visitation guidance. Guidance released in November states:

While previously acceptable during the public health emergency, facilities can no longer limit frequency and length of visits for residents, the number of visitors, or require advance scheduling of visits.

Of course, visits must be safe for all parties, especially at this time. That’s why CMS established several core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention to support safe visits. Visitors should expect to be screened for COVID-19 exposure, practice good hand hygiene, and wear a mask when required. Facilities should clean often, ensure staff wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and post information to remind visitors of necessary precautions. Residents and staff should be tested for COVID-19 to comply with separate CMS testing guidance. To further clarify expectations, CMS issued Frequently Asked Questions this morning that are a helpful resource for facilities, residents, and visitors.

In addition to those core principles, an important factor in sustained visitation is vaccination against COVID-19, including having a vaccine booster dose. CMS now publishes vaccination data for each nursing home. Nationally, an average of 87% of residents and 77.3% of staff per facility are vaccinated. However, there is a wide range among individual nursing facilities. On this CMS COVID-19 nursing home data page, below the national numbers, is a link to a list of all nursing homes and their vaccination rates, among other information.

ACL’s Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs collects data from State Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs through the National Ombudsman Reporting System. Ombudsman data provides a rich source of information about the issues that residents, families, and others report to Ombudsman representatives for resolution. Between October 2019 and September 2020, Ombudsman programs received a dramatic increase (485%) in complaints about visitation in nursing homes compared to the previous year. This increase is even more remarkable because overall complaints dropped during this period as Ombudsman programs stopped in-person visits to facilities in order to protect residents.

50 Disability Rights and Inclusion Organizations to Follow on Twitter

By Edmund Asiedu: For Complete Post, Click Here…

If you are looking for organizations around the world that advocating for disability rights and inclusion on Twitter, please see below for their handles. If you know any disability organization that is not mentioned below, please add the name in the comments.

@AAPD: “The American Association of people with Disabilities (AAPD) works to increase the political and economic power of people with disabilities.”

@AUCDNews: The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) supports interdisciplinary research and trains University Centers & people with disabilities. AUCD is led by @AndyAUCD.

@DREDF: “The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities.”

@NDRNadvocates: “The Network is the nation’s largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities.”

@NCILAdvocacy: “The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.”

@USICD: “US International Council on Disabilities works to promote rights & full participation of persons with disabilities through global engagement and US foreign affairs.” USICD is led by @isabelhodge.

@MobilityINTL: Mobility International USA empowers people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

@euroblind: “The voice of 30 million blind and partially sighted people in Europe.”

@NFB_voice: National Federation of the Blind knows “that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

@Sightsavers: Sightsavers protects sight and fight for disability rights.

@LeonardCheshire: “We are Leonard Cheshire — supporting individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability.”

@DisabilityIN: “Your business partner for disability inclusion. Formerly USBLN. DM us if you want IN!”

@ADANatonal: ADA National “Provides information, guidance and training on how to implement the ADA.”

@NatRCPD: “The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities is a collaborative #disabilityresearch and #advocacyproject that supports #ParentsWithDisabilities.”

@DRI_advocacy: “Disability Rights International is a non-profit dedicated to promoting the human rights and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide.”

@WID_org: “World Institute on Disability’s Vision: a world where people with disabilities live fully integrated lives economically and socially.”

@IDA_CRPD_Forum: “We are the International Disability Alliance, united for the rights & inclusion of all persons with disabilities.”

@MyEDF: “The European Disability Forum is the voice of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. We do advocacy in the EU!”

@DisabRightsFund: “A Movement to Change 1 Billion Lives: DRF supports persons with disabilities in the developing world to take lead in advocating for human rights & inclusion.”

@CBMworldwide: “We are an international Christian development organisation working for an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities achieve their full potential.”

@HI_Advocacy: “HI is an independent #humanitarian #NGOworking alongside disabled people in situations of poverty and exclusion.”

@WomenEnabled: “Sharing advocacy strategies and legal news for women’s rights and disability rights globally.”

@Ausattitude: “Attitude Foundation changing attitudes & changing lives by creating #inclusion & better representation of #disability in #media.”

@InclusionIntl: “The international network of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.”

@CID_NY: “Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (or CIDNY). Organizing for disability rights in transportation access, healthcare, etc.”

@DPI_Info: “World’s 1st cross-disability #humanrightsDPO promoting ‘#NothingAboutUsWithoutUs’ #CRPD#inclusion #disabilities #SDGs#GlobalSouth for 37 yrs.”

@AskEARN: “Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) supports employers in hiring, retaining and advancing qualified people with disabilities.”

@gettinghired: “Getting Hired is a #recruitment solution dedicated to helping #inclusiveemployers hire professional individuals, graduates & #veterans with #disabilities.”

@AccessLiving: “Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables people with disabilities to live fully engaged and self directed lives.”

@CDRNYS: “CDR advocates for full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities.”

@KesslerFdn: “Changing the lives of people with disabilities. Tweets by Carol Murphy & Laura Viglione. Shares do not necessarily reflect the views of Kessler Foundation.”

@RudermanFdn: “National leader in #disability inclusion. Strengthening #Israel-Jewish American relations.”

@NOD_ItsAbility: “NOD innovates disability employment solutions and offers a suite of professional services, tailored to meet leading companies’ workforce needs.”

@DisMentors: “The National Disability Mentoring Coalition mission: increase the awareness, quality & impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.”

@PWDAustralia: “We are a national cross-disability rights and advocacy not-for-profit, non-government organisation by and for all people with #disability.”

@RealEconImpact: “National Disability Institute promotes real economic impact for all Americans with disabilities.”

@DisabilitySmart: “Business Disability Forum (BDF) is a not-for-profit membership organisation that makes it easier to do business with and employ disabled people.”

@NYCDisabilities: “The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities works hand-in-hand with other City agencies to ensure that the voice of the disability community are represented.”

@CAPDisability: Disability Justice Initiative is dedicated to improving the lives of Americans. The Initiative is led by @rebeccacokley.

And more…

Request for Information; Health and Safety Requirements for Transplant Programs, Organ Procurement Organizations, and End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities

From the Federal Register: For Complete Post, Click Here…

This request for information solicits public comments on potential changes to the requirements that transplant programs, organ procurement organizations, and end-stage renal disease facilities must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These providers and suppliers are integral to the transplant ecosystem in the United States and to the health of patients across the Nation. We are seeking public comment that will help to inform potential changes that would create system-wide improvements, which would further lead to improved organ donation, organ transplantation, quality of care in dialysis facilities, and improved access to dialysis services.


To be assured consideration, comments must be received at one of the addresses provided below, no later than 5 p.m. on February 1, 2022.

How your brain copes with grief, and why it takes time to heal

By BERLY MCCOY: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Holidays are never quite the same after someone we love dies. Even small aspects of a birthday or a Christmas celebration — an empty seat at the dinner table, one less gift to buy or make — can serve as jarring reminders of how our lives have been forever changed. Although these realizations are hard to face, clinical psychologist Mary-Frances O’Connor says we shouldn’t avoid them or try to hide our feelings.

“Grief is a universal experience,” she notes, “and when we can connect, it is better.”

O’Connor, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, studies what happens in our brains when we experience grief. She says grieving is a form of learning — one that teaches us how to be in the world without someone we love in it. “The background is running all the time for people who are grieving, thinking about new habits and how they interact now.”