Washington Hospital upholds the following patient rights regardless of
age, source of payment, gender, or cultural, economic, educational or
religious background. All patient rights also apply to the person who
may have legal responsibility to make decisions regarding medical care
on your behalf. This includes the parents/guardians of minor patients.
All patients receive a copy of their patient rights upon admission.
You have the right to:
- Considerate and respectful care, and to be made comfortable. You have the
right to respect for your personal values and beliefs.
- Have a family member (or other representative of your choosing) and your
own physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
- Know the name of the physician who has primary responsibility for coordinating
your care and the names of the professional relationships of other physicians
and non-physicians who will see you.
- Receive information about your health status, course of treatment and prospects
for recovery in terms you can understand. You have the right to participate
in the development and implementation of your plan of care. You have the
right to participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of
your care, including issues of conflict resolution, withholding resuscitative
services, and foregoing or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment.
- Make decisions regarding medical care, and receive as much information
about any proposed treatment or procedure as you may need in order to
give informed consent or to refuse course of treatment. Except in emergencies,
this information shall include a description of the procedure or treatment,
the medically significant risks involved, alternate courses of treatment
or non-treatment and the risks involved in each, and the name of the person
who will carry out the procedure or treatment.
- Request or refuse treatment, to the extent permitted by law. However, you
do not have the right to demand inappropriate or medically unnecessary
treatment or services. You have the right to leave the hospital even against
the advice of your physicians, to the extent permitted by law.
- Be advised if the hospital/personal physician proposes to engage in or
perform human experimentation affecting your care or treatment. You have
the right to refuse to participate in such research projects.
- Reasonable responses to any reasonable requests made for service.
- Request or reject the use of any or all modalities to relieve pain, including
opiate medication, if you suffer from severe chronic intractable pain.
The doctor may refuse to prescribe opiate medication, but if so, must
inform you that there are physicians who specialize in the treatment of
severe chronic intractable pain and methods that include the use of opiates.
- Formulate advance directives. This includes designating a decision maker
if you become incapable of understanding a proposed treatment or become
unable to communicate your wishes regarding care. Hospital staff and practitioners
who provide care in the hospital shall comply with these directives. All
patient rights apply to the person who has legal responsibility to make
decisions regarding medical care on your behalf.
- Have personal privacy respected. Case discussion, consultation, examination
and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. You
have the right to be told the reason for the presence of any individual.
You have the right to have visitors leave prior to an examination and
when treatment issues are being discussed. Privacy curtains will be used
in semi-private rooms.
- Confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to
your care and stay in the hospital. Basic information may be released
to the public, unless specifically prohibited in writing by you. Written
permission shall be obtained before medical records are made available
to anyone not directly concerned with your care, except as otherwise may
be required or permitted by law.
- Access information contained in your records within a reasonable time frame,
except in certain circumstances specified by law.
- Receive care in a safe setting, free from verbal or physical abuse or harassment.
You have the right to access protective services including notifying government
agencies of neglect or abuse.
- Be free from restraints and seclusion of any form used as a mean of coercion,
discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff.
- Reasonable continuity of care and to know in advance of the time and location
of appointments as well as the identity of the persons providing the care.
- Be informed by the physician, or a delegate of the physician, of the continuing
health care requirements following discharge from the hospital.
- Know which hospital rules and policies apply to your conduct while a patient.
Designate visitors of your choosing, if you have a decision-making capacity,
whether or not the visitor is related by blood or marriage, unless:
- No visitors are allowed.
- The facility reasonably determines that the presence of a particular visitor
would endanger the health or safety of a patient, or would significantly
disrupt the operations of the facility.
- You have told the health facility staff that you no longer want a particular
person to visit. However, a health facility may establish reasonable restrictions
upon visitation, including restrictions upon the hours of visitation and
number of visitors.
- Have your wishes considered, if you lack decision-making capacity, for
the purposes of determining who may visit. The method of that consideration
will be disclosed in the hospital policy on visitation. At a minimum,
the hospital shall include any persons living in your household.
- Examine and receive an explanation of the hospital's bill regardless
of the source of payment.
- Exercise these rights without regard to sex, economic status, educational
background, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation
or marital status, or the source of payment for care.
- File a grievance and/or file a complaint with the state Department of Health
Services and/or the hospital and be informed of action taken.
In addition to your patient rights, you and/or a legally responsible guardian
or conservator have the following responsibilities:
- To provide complete and accurate information regarding medical history
- To consider and use information provided by physicians and other health
care providers in order to make healthcare decisions in the patient's
- To provide written consent to, or refusal of, treatment and/or procedures
as requested by physicians and/or hospital personnel
- To be considerate of others in the hospital, including patients, visitors
and hospital employees
- To meet financial responsibilities, including provision of appropriate
insurance and billing information
All patients receive information regarding advance directives upon admission.
In order to be in compliance with the Federal Patient Self-Determination
Act (PSDA) passed by Congress in 1990, Washington Hospital now asks, at
the time of registration, all patients over the age of 18 if an advance
directive has been drafted. Washington Hospital has formal policies to
ensure that your wishes about treatment will be followed.
If you present an advance directive to us when you register, this information
will be maintained in your medical records. If you have not completed
an advance directive and want information, we will provide it to you.
You are not required to have an advance directive to receive medical care.
Resources are available to answer questions you might have.
A brochure which explains your right to make healthcare decisions and how
you can plan what should be done when you cannot speak for yourself is
available in the Admitting department.
The patient representative serves as a liaison between patients, hospital
staff and physicians by intervening to mediate conflict, improve communication
and meet non-clinical needs. You can contact the patient representative
directly by calling extension 3400.
Any patient, family member, physician, nurse or hospital employee may request
a consultation with the Bio-Ethics Committee. The purpose of the committee
is to help patients and their families, as well as physicians and other
health care providers, discuss and resolve questions, problems and conflicts
that involve personal values in the process of receiving and providing
healthcare. To request a consultation or for more information, please
ask your nurse.
The Paul Gann Blood Safety Act requires that your physician provide you
with information concerning blood transfusions when there is the possibility
that a blood transfusion may be necessary as a result of a medical or
Learn about how Washington Hospital Healthcare System protects your privacy in our
Notice of Privacy Practices.