ADA Accommodations

A service animal sits outdoors on a park bench with two people seated in the background.

Services for patients and visitors with disabilities

OHSU strives to provide equal access to patients and visitors with disabilities. If you have a disability, you have the right to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. Examples include:

  • Being provided with a sign language interpreter
  • Bringing a service animal to a medical visit
  • Being provided with accessible seating at an event
  • Having presentations and videos with captions

This page will explain what’s available at OHSU and how to ask for it.

Patient communication aids

Everyone deserves medical care in a language they understand. OHSU provides free tools and services.

Communication kits

OHSU clinics and hospital areas have kits with communication tools such as:

  • Pocket amplifiers
  • Whiteboards
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Communication boards (available in English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Vietnamese)
  • Documents that list options such as interpreters, captioning, transcription or translation

Ask staff if you want to use any of these options while at OHSU.

Communication formats

OHSU also provides communication formats, such as:

  • Live captioning
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Audio or other electronic options

Some formats require up to three weeks to prepare. Please contact your clinic or health care team as soon as possible to ask for one.

Personal Decision Guides

Personal Decision Guides help people make informed choices about their health care. Most guides are text-only, but some use pictures for people with limited literacy or who communicate using symbols.

Find templates and learn more about Personal Decisions Guides at OHSU.

Interpreter and translation services

OHSU provides free services in more than 240 languages, including American Sign Language, to people whose main language is not English. Services include:

  • Live interpretation in person, over the phone or via video
  • Transcribed written information

Please let the staff know if you need language services for your visit.

Learn more about inclusive patient care and communication at OHSU.

Support people for patients with disabilities

Patients with disabilities have the right to support from people they trust while at OHSU. You can name up to three support people if you have a disability and need help:

  • Speaking with staff
  • Doing daily tasks
  • Making health care decisions

A support person can be a family member, friend, guardian, personal care assistant or other paid or unpaid helper. Their role is to physically and emotionally support you, and to help you communicate with staff.

You can always have at least one support person with you:

  • In the emergency room
  • During your hospital stay
  • For any discussion about hospice care, POLST forms or advance directives

Read our full policy.

Service animals

We welcome service animals at OHSU. Federal law defines a service animal as a dog trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. In some cases, a miniature horse may act as a service animal.

For patients

  • If you are coming to an OHSU clinic for an appointment, please let your health care team know beforehand that you will bring a service animal.
  • If you will have a medical procedure, notify your health care team in advance that you will have a service animal with you. This lets hospital staff protect against infection. We do not allow service animals in the operating room or the post-anesthesia care unit.

For visitors

  • If you plan to visit a patient with your service animal, ask the patient to notify their clinic or health care team beforehand.
  • You do not need to notify anyone if you plan to bring a service animal to a public event.

Bringing a service animal to OHSU

  • Your service animal should be healthy, up to date with required vaccinations, and free of fleas, ticks or sores.
  • You will need to control your service animal at all times.
  • You or your designated person are responsible for your service animal’s care. This includes toileting, feeding and watching over the service animal at all times. If you will be temporarily separated from your service animal (for example, during a procedure), someone else will need to provide care. You must pick up any solid waste in a plastic bag and put it in an outdoor trash can.
  • If your service animal becomes unsafe, we may ask you to remove them from OHSU.
  • We do not allow pets in OHSU facilities. Please contact your health care team if you have questions.

Transportation and accessibility

OHSU supports accessible transportation options for in-person visits, including:

Ask for an ADA accommodation

To ask for an accommodation:

Patients: Contact your clinic or health care team to let them know about your access needs as early as possible. Some services take time to arrange.

Visitors supporting a patient: Ask the patient to contact their clinic or health care team to ask for accommodation for you.

We will do our best to honor your request each time you visit.

Concerns and complaints

If you have a question or concern about your accommodation request, contact your clinic or health care team. To submit a complaint about an accommodation, contact OHSU Patient Relations.

OHSU Patient Relations
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays