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Knowing Patient’s Bill of Rights is important

As we experience healthcare challenges that make it necessary to be treated within acute care or long-term care facilities, it is important to know the rights we have as recipients of care.

The American Hospital Association has developed 15 inherent rights we are entitled to. They are called Patient’s Bill of Rights.

These rights can also be exercised on the patient’s behalf if the patient does not have decision-making abilities, is legally incompetent or a minor.

A Patient’s Bill of Rights was first adopted by the AHA in 1973. The following revision was approved by the AHA Board of Trustees Oct. 21, 1992.

The patient has a right to:

*Considerate and respectful care.

*Understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

*Discuss and request information related to treatment, procedures, length of recovery and risks and benefits of treatment.

*Know the identity of physicians, nurses, and others involved in their care.

*Know the financial implications of treatment choices.

*Make decisions about the plan of care and refuse a recommended treatment plan.

*An advanced directive, such as a living will, durable power of attorney, or healthcare proxy, and expect the that the hospital will honor the intent of that directive.

*Privacy.

*Confidentiality.

*Review his or her medical records.

*Expect that the hospital will make a reasonable response to the patient’s requests.

*Ask and be informed of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, and other agencies.

*Consent to or decline to participate in research studies.

*Expect reasonable continuity of care.

Be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to treatment and resources for resolving disputes, grievances and conflicts.

The AHA Patient’s Bill of Rights gives the patient and family autonomy (self-governance) in his or her hospital experience. These rights acknowledge the dignity of the healthcare recipient and allow for him or her to be an active member of the health care team. When exercising autonomy, one is more likely to experience satisfaction with the hospital stay. Be sure to complete the evaluation form you receive upon discharge from a healthcare facility. These evaluations inform healthcare providers of your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your experience. The evaluations also identify the quality of services the healthcare workers provide. If you identify aspects of your care that did not meet your expectations, the health care team can use the information to improve the care of those who come after you.

For more information, visit https://www.americanpatient.org/aha-patients-bill-of-rights/

Sarah M. Ware, PhD, RN, CNE

Retired Nurse Educator

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