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Patient Bill of Rights


Introduction

Effective health care requires cooperative relationship between patients, physicians and other health care professionals. Open and honest communication, respect for personal and professional values, and sensitivity to differences are important to quality patient care. As the setting for the provision of health services, Iroquois Memorial Hospital will provide a foundation for understanding and respecting the rights and responsibilities of patients, their families, physicians, and other caregivers. Iroquois Memorial Hospital will ensure a health care ethic that respects the role of patients in decision making about treatment choices and other aspects of their care. Iroquois Memorial will be sensitive to cultural, racial, linguistic, religious, age, gender, and other differences as well as the needs of persons with disabilities.

The following, Bill of Rights, as set forth by the American Hospital Association, has been adopted by Iroquois Memorial and is supported by its Administration, Medical Staff, and Employees.

A Patient's Rights

1. Patients have the right to considerate and respectful care.

2. Patients have the right to and are encouraged to obtain from physicians relevant, current and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Except in emergencies when the patient lacks decision-making capacity and the need for treatment is urgent, the patient is entitled to the opportunity to discuss and request information related to the specific procedures and/or treatments, the risks involved, the possible length of recuperation, and the medically reasonable alternatives and their accompanying risks and benefits. Patients have the right to know the identity of physicians, nurses, and others involved in their care, as well as when those involved are students, residents, or other trainees. The patient also has the right to know the immediate and long-term financial implications of treatment choices, in so far as they are known.

3. The patient has the right to make decisions about the plan of care prior to and during the course of treatment and to refuse a recommended treatment or plan of care to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action. In case of such refusal, the patient is entitled do other appropriate care and services that the hospital provides or transfer to another hospital. The hospital should notify patients of any policy that might affect patient choice within the institution.

4. The patient has the right to have an advance directive (such as a living will, health care proxy, or durable power of attorney for health care) concerning treatment or designating a surrogate decision maker with the expectation that the hospital will honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy. Health care institutions must advise patients of their rights under state law and hospital policy to make informed medical choices, ask if the patient has an advance directive and include that information in patient records. The patient has the right to timely information about hospital policy that may limit its ability to implement fully a legally valid advance directive.

5. The patient has the right to every consideration of privacy. Case discussion, consultation, examination and treatment should be conducted so as to protect each patient's privacy.

6. The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care will be treated as confidential by the hospital, except in cases such as suspected abuse and public health hazards when reporting is permitted or required by law. The patient has the right to expect that the hospital will emphasize the confidentiality of this information when it releases it to any other parties entitled to review information in these records.

7. The patient has the right to review the records pertaining to his/her medical care and to have the information explained or interpreted as necessary, except when restricted by law.

8. The patient has the right to expect that, within its capacity and policies, a hospital will make reasonable responses to the request of a patient for appropriate and medically indicated care and services. The hospital must provide evaluation, service, and/or referral as indicated by the urgency of the case. When medically appropriate and legally permissible, or when a patient has so requested, a patient may be transferred to another facility. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred must first have accepted the patient for transfer. The patient must also have the benefit of complete information and explanation concerning the need for, risks, benefits, and alternatives to such a transfer.

9. The patient has the right to ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other health care providers, or payers that may influence the patient's treatment and care.

10. The patient has the right to consent to or decline to participate in proposed research studies or human experimentation affecting care and treatment or requiring direct patient involvement and to have those studies fully explained prior to consent. A patient who declines to participate in research or experimentation is entitled to the most effective care that the hospital can otherwise provide.

11. The patient has the right to expect reasonable continuity of care when appropriate and to be informed by physicians and other caregivers of available and realistic patient care options when hospital care is no longer appropriate.

12. The patient has the right to be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to patient care, treatment, and responsibilities. The patient has the right to access nurse staffing information. The patient has the right to be informed of available resources for resolving disputes, grievances, and conflicts, such as ethics committees, patient representatives, or other mechanisms available in the institution. The patient has the right to be informed of the hospital's charges for services and available payment methods.

13. The patient has the right to receive information about pain and pain relief measures; to have reports of pain believed, to have concerned staff committed to pain prevention and management and health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain.

These rights can be exercised on the patient's behalf by a designated surrogate or proxy decision maker if the patient lacks decision making capacity, is legally incompetent or is a minor.

A Patient's Responsibilities


1. The collaborative nature of health care requires that patients, or their families/surrogates, participate in their care. The effectiveness of care and patient satisfaction with the course of treatment depend, in part, on the patient fulfilling certain responsibilities. Patients are responsible for providing information about past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters related to health status. To participate effectively in decision making, patients must be encouraged to take responsibility for requesting additional information or clarification about their health status or treatment when they do not fully understand information and instructions. Patients are also responsible for ensuring that the health care institution has a copy of their written advance directive if they have one. Patients are responsible for informing their physicians and other caregivers if they anticipate problems in following prescribed treatment.

2. Patients should also be aware of the hospital's obligation to be reasonably efficient and equitable in providing care to other patients and the community. The hospital's rules and regulations are designed to help the hospital meet this obligation. Patients and their families are responsible for making reasonable accommodations to the needs of the hospital, other patients, medical staff and hospital associates. Patients are responsible for providing necessary information for insurance claims and for working with the hospital to make payment arrangements, when necessary.

3. Patients should discuss pain relief options with your nurse or healthcare provider, work with your nurse or healthcare provider to develop a pain management plan, ask for pain relief when pain first begins, help your nurse or healthcare provider assess your pain, tell your nurse or healthcare provider if your pain is not relieved and tell your nurse or healthcare provider about any worries you have about taking your pain medications.

4. A person's health depends on much more than health care services. Patients are responsible for recognizing the impact of their lifestyle choices on their personal health.

Conclusion

Hospitals have many functions to perform, including the enhancement of health status, health promotion, the prevention and treatment of injury and disease, the immediate and ongoing care and rehabilitation of patients, the education of health professionals, patients and the community and research. All these activities must be conducted with an overriding concern for the values and dignity of patients. You are an important partner in your own health care. If you don't understand your rights or want additional information, please ask to speak with the Social Worker or Department Director. Exercising your rights as a patient will only help us assure the quality of care that you receive at Iroquois Memorial Hospital.

Questions & Concerns

Patients and families have the right to present questions or concerns regarding quality of care or any conflicts with patient care, hospital employees, etc. While you are patient, ask for the Nurse Manager, Department Director or the Risk Manager.

If there are questions or concerns once you leave, you may call the hospital's Risk Manager at 815.432.7720 or toll-free at 800.242.2731 Ext. 7720.

The public may contact the Joint Commission's Office of Quality Monitoring to report any concerns or register complaints about a Joint Commission-accredited health care organization by either calling 800.994.6610 or emailing complaint@jcaho.org.