Briefly, every time a someone is admitted to the hospital they sign a "bunch of documents" and receive a handful of forms and brochures in return. Somewhere lost in that paper drill (should be) a copy of the American Hospital Association's Patient Bill of Rights. I just learned that the AHA now calls this publicaton "The Patient Care Partnership: Understanding Expectations, Rights, and Responsibilities." If the hospital doesn't provide this to you--you can download the information from the AHA site where it is also available in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
Briefly, the patient bill of rights was established so that health care providers and patients would both be reminded that patients have specific rights for advocacy on their behalf while in the health care setting.
The AHA's Patient Care Partnership/Patient's Bill of Rights assures patients that during their health care stay they are entitled to:
- High quality hospital care
- A clean and safe environment
- Involvement in their hospital care which includes the rights to: understand the treatment plan & be able to consent or refuse treatments, make personal health goals known, designate advance directives, and to be educated on expectations for post-hospital needs. Patient involvement also includes their obligation to provide to staff the information necessary to provide correct treatment (including allergies, medications, health history, health insurance, etc.)
- Protection of Privacy
- Assitance with billing and the filing of insurance claims
- Preparation for the patient & family in advance of discharge
I applaud the elderly couple who stood up for their rights--and thumbs down to the health care providers who would have railroaded them into an unacceptable situation if they had not firmly, decisively, and repeatedly said, "NO."