Patient Bill of Rights
We consider you a partner in your hospital care. When you are well informed, participate in treatment decisions, and communicate openly with your doctors and other health care professionals, you help make your care as effective as possible. Memorial Hospital encourages respect for the personal preferences and values of each individual.
While you are a patient at Memorial Hospital, your rights include the following:
- You have the right to reasonable access to care that is considerate and respectful of your values and beliefs.
- You have the right to privacy and security. The hospital, your doctor, and health care professionals will protect your privacy and security as much as possible and preserve confidentiality of all records pertaining to your treatment.
- You have the right to be well informed by your doctor/designee about your illness, possible treatments, likely outcomes and any unanticipated outcomes. You and members of your family are encouraged to participate in decisions regarding your care by asking questions and seeking clarification on issues with your doctor. You have the right to know the names and roles of people treating you. You have the right to exclude any and all family members from participating in your health care decisions.
- You have the right to participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of your care and to satisfactory resolution of conflicts and problems regarding your hospital stay and care.
- You have the right to refuse any treatment to the extent permitted by law. Should you refuse recommended treatment, you will receive other needed and available care.
- You have the right to have your pain treated effectively and in a timely manner while you are a patient in the hospital.
- You have the right to an advance directive, such as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. These documents express your choices about future care or name someone to decide if you cannot speak for yourself. You should provide copies of your written advance directive to the hospital, family member(s) and your doctor.
- You have the right to expect that the hospital will deliver the necessary medical services to the best of its ability. Treatment, referral or transfer may be recommended. If transfer is recommended, you will be informed of the need for and alternatives to such a transfer.
- You have the right to be informed of realistic care alternatives when hospital care is no longer appropriate.
- You have the right to consent or decline participation in research and experimentation projects. Declining participation will in no way compromise your access to services.
- You have the right to be informed about and have access to protective services, such as guardianship and advocacy services.
- You have the right to review your medical records and to have the information explained.
- You have the right to know if this hospital has relationships with outside parties that may influence your treatment and care. These relationships may be with educational institutions, other health care providers, or insurers.
- You have the right to be informed about hospital rules that affect your treatment and be allowed to review and receive explanation of charges and payment methods.
- You have the right to be informed about hospital rules and regulations that can assist in resolving problems and conflicts concerning your hospital visit and care.
- You have the right to receive care, treatment and services regardless of your age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, culture, language, disability, marital status, education, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, income, or who will pay your bill.
- You have the right to effective communication. Interpreters are available at any time for non-English speaking persons or persons with limited English proficiency. Hard of hearing or deaf patients have the right to request assistive hearing devices, Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD) or sign language interpreters. These services are provided free of charge.
Your Participation and Responsibilities
The care that you receive is partially dependent on you acting in a cooperative manner with your health care providers, including communicating openly and honestly, following treatment plans, and respecting the hospital standards of conduct. As a result, you are encouraged and relied on to maintain certain responsibilities during the course of your care:
- You have the responsibility to provide accurate and complete information concerning your present complaints, medical history, and other matters relating to your health.
- You are encouraged to develop partnerships with your health care providers, including regular interaction and communication, as well as clearly identifying whether or not you understand the course of your medical care and what is expected of you.
- You are encouraged to follow the treatment and educational plans developed with your health care team. If you have concerns about your ability to follow the plan and health care instructions, you are encouraged to express such concerns and to ask questions. If you do not follow these plans, you must accept the consequences.
- You are responsible to work with your health care team to make your care as safe and effective as possible, and are encouraged to report any perceived risks that concern you.
- You are requested to be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel by following the hospital rules.
- You are asked to be respectful of hospital property and the property of other persons in the hospital.
- You are responsible for promptly meeting any financial obligations agreed to with the hospital.
Ensuring a Safe Hospital Stay
There are ways you can make your experience at Memorial Hospital safer. While today's health care system has provided us with the highest level of care ever, it has also increased the potential for medical errors.
The best way to reduce the chance for error is for patients and their health care providers (doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, dietitians) to work together to make the system safer. The single most important way that you as a patient can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team.
- Speak up if you have any questions or concerns.
- Make sure that one person, such as your personal doctor, is in charge of your care.
- Make sure that all health care professionals involved in your care have all the important health information about you.
- Make sure you are identified by your first and last name and date of birth or medical record number prior to having any tests, treatments, procedures; taking medications; or being transported to another area. The health care provider(s) may do this verbally or by checking your identification bracelet.
- Make sure that your doctors and nurses know about any allergies you have and any adverse reactions you have had to medications.
- Make sure that all of your doctors know all medicines you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
- Make sure you know about the medicines you are being given. Ask:
- What is the medicine for?
- How often will I be taking it?
- What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?
- Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
- What food, drink or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
- Consider asking all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands.
- Know that "more" is not always better. It is a good idea to ask why a test or treatment is needed and how it will help you.
- If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news. Ask about the results.
- If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
- Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.
- Ask a family member or friend to keep aware of what is happening with you and be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can't).
- When you are discharged from the hospital:
- Ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
- Ask for written information about the medicines you will be take at home and the side effects these medicines could cause.
- Ask what symptoms you should report to the doctor.
- Ask when you need to see a doctor for a follow-up.
- Ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.