It’s amazing how many new things I learn each day! And to think I “knew it all” when I was twenty years old is laughable. I still don’t know it all, but as I age I’m constantly picking up new information.
Before I became a nurse, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as “Patient Rights.” I simply thought that if I needed to go to the doctor I went and whatever the doc told me to do, I did.
I’m not knocking health care here because I’m part of it. But, not all doctors are created equal. Not all nurses are caring. Not all ailments can be diagnosed.
For these reasons, it’s important to know your rights as a patient. There is such a thing called a Patient’s Bill of Rights. It is required that you know about them upon admission to the hospital and when you hire a home health care service. They can be slightly different from state to state, but overall they are very similar.
If you have time, read through the rights I have listed and next time you’re treated by some sort of health care entity, see if any of them pertain to your situation.
Always remember that you are ultimately in charge of your own body. Be your own advocate!
1) Patients have the right to choose the home health agency that provides their care;
2) Patients have the right to participate in the planning of their care and to receive appropriate instructions and education regarding the plan, prior to the care being provided and as changes are made in the plan of care;
3) Patients have the right to request information about their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, including alternatives to care and risks involved, in terms that they and their families or designees can readily understand so that they can give their informed
4) Patients have the right to refuse health care and to be informed of possible health consequences of this action;
5) Patients have the right to care given without discrimination as to race, color, creed, sex, age, or national origin;
6) Patients have the right to be admitted for service only if the agency has the ability to provide safe, professional care at the level of intensity needed and to reasonable continuity of care;
7) Patients have the right to confidentiality of all records, communications, and personal information;
8) Patients have the right to review all health records pertaining to them, unless, the physician has documented otherwise in the medical record;
9) Patients have the right to receive both an oral and written explanation regarding termination if services are terminated for any reason other than discharge and receive information regarding community resources. Patients must receive at least a two-week notice prior to termination of services. When a patient is discharged by the physician’s written order, a two-week notice is not required. A two-week notice is not required when patient services are being terminated based on an unsafe care environment in the patient’s home, patient non-compliance with the plan of care, or failure to pay for services rendered;
10) Patients have the right to voice complaints/grievances and suggest changes in service or staff without fear of reprisal or discrimination. Complaints made by the patient/designee
received by the home health agency regarding care or treatment must be investigated. The agency must document both the existence and the resolution of the complaint. The patient/designee must be informed of the outcome/resolution of the complaint/grievance;
11) Patients have the right to be fully informed of agency policies and charges for services, including eligibility for third-party reimbursement, prior to receiving care;
12) Patients have the right to be free of verbal, physical, and psychological abuse and to be treated with dignity;
13) Patients have the right to have his or her property treated with respect; and
14) Patients have the right to receive information regarding advance directives.
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