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5 Patient Rights: Part 2

5 Patient Rights: Part 2


These are basic patient rights which may lead to lawsuits if they are violated.

1. Communication
The hospital staff are obligated to inform a patient or, when appropriate, the patient’s legal representative, of the patient’s rights. The information should be provided in a way and language the patient understands. Some patients will need help understanding these rights because of alterations in hearing, vision, speech, ability to think and language.

At times the patient will designate a person to act on his or her behalf. Hospital staff are expected to take reasonable steps to determine who this person is. This right led to the creation of translation services to assist in communication with patients.

2. Informed Decisions
Patients have the right to receive information about their health, recovery, care, needs, and outcomes. The information should be provided in a language and in terms the patient understands.

This right focuses on the need to have patient education materials and translators available to assist the patient’s understanding. This right also gives patients the right to be involved in all aspects of their care and to make choices based on their values. it can be challenging for healthcare staff when they encounter a patient who has beliefs that are in strong opposition to the healthcare team.

3. Privacy
Patients have the right to limit who knows they are in a healthcare facility.

The impact of HIPAA has increased our sensitivity to using patient’s names or posting them where others can see them. Patients have the right to know who will have access to their personal health information, who is present when they are being examined, and to be assured that their privacy will be respected. Patients may review and request copies of their medical records unless this right is restricted for medical or legal reasons.

4. Care planning
Patients often have information that helps healthcare providers form the plan of care. Patients have the right to receive a medical screening exam to determine if there is a need for treatment and to participate in the care they receive. They are to receive instructions for care when they are being sent home or to another care setting.

5. Additional rights
Patients have the right to receive prompt care in an emergency. They should expect to be treated with respect and consideration. They have a right to not be bullied, harassed, neglected or abused. Patients have a right to know the name and role of any healthcare provider. They also have a right to be free from restraints or seclusion unless other less restrictive measures have been tried, and it is necessary to protect the patient from injuring himself or others.

See Part 1 for additional rights.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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