A hospital has many functions to perform, including preventing and treating disease, educating health professionals and patients, and conducting clinical research. All of these activities are conducted with an overriding concern for you.
As a patient at Charleston Area Medical Center, we believe you are entitled to specific rights outlined by the American Hospital Association:
- You have the right to considerate and respectful care.
- You have the right to obtain from your physician complete, current information concerning your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis in terms that you can reasonably be expected to understand. When it is not medically advisable to give such information to you, it should be made available to an appropriate person on your behalf. You have the right to know the name of the physician responsible for coordinating your care.
- You have the right to receive from your physician information necessary to give informed consent before any procedure and/or treatment is started. Except in emergencies, this information should include, but not be limited to, the procedure and/or treatment, the risks involved and the predicted length of incapacitation. Where medically significant alternatives for care or treatment exist, or when you request information about medical alternatives, you have the right to such information. You also have right to know the name of the person responsible for these procedures or treatments.
- You have the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of your actions.
- You have the right to every consideration of your privacy concerning your own medical care. Case discussions, consultations, examinations and treatments are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. Those not directly involved in your care must have your permission to be present.
- You have the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to your care will be treated confidentially.
- You have the right to expect that, within its capacity, Charleston Area Medical Center must make a reasonable response to your request for services. The hospital must provide evaluation, service and referral as indicated by the urgency of your case. When medically permissible, you may be transferred to another facility only after that hospital has received complete information and an explanation about the need for, and alternatives to, the transfer. The institution to which you are being transferred must first have accepted the transfer.
- You have the right to obtain information about any relationship of your hospital to other health care and educational institutions insofar as your care is concerned. You have the right to obtain information about the existence of professional relationships among individuals, by name, who are treating you.
- You have the right to be advised if the hospital 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.
- You have the right to expect reasonable continuity of care. You have the right to know in advance what appointment times and physicians are available and where. You have the right to expect that the hospital will provide a way for your physician or a representative of your physician to inform you about continuing health care requirements after you are discharged from the hospital.
- You have the right to examine and receive an explanation of your bill regardless of the source of payment.
- You have the right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to your conduct as a patient.
- You have the right to expect that the hospital staff will reasonably respond to your need for comfort and pain relief.
The care you receive while in the hospital is affected by your actions and participation. Therefore, in addition to your rights as a patient, you also have certain responsibilities. We encourage you to:
- Give accurate and complete information about your present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to your health.
- Report any unexpected changes in your condition. For example, tell your nurse if you notice a new problem such as itching, nausea or feeling faint. Medications and treatments affect patients differently so we need to know how you are feeling when you receive your personally prescribed care.
- Actively participate in decisions regarding your medical care. Ask for assistance in decision-making when you feel uncertain. Feel free to ask questions for explanations and details about potential treatments. Do not hesitate to ask questions such as “Why this treatment?” or “What alternative treatments are available to me?” and “What can I expect as a result of this treatment or as a result of no treatment?”
- Ask questions about your medications and treatments. For example, ask the nurse to identify the pills you are being given, or question the therapist if new breathing treatments are started. Do not be afraid to request that a medication or treatment be held until you have discussed it with your doctor.
- Please discuss with your family or friends and your caregiver your thoughts about life support, organ donation and whom you would like to make medical decisions should you become unable to make your own decisions.
- Please let us know if an answer is too detailed or we use words you don't know.
- Please be considerate of the rights of other patients, families and your caregivers.
Because of their age and dependency, children (neonates through adolescents) have additional needs recognized by Charleston Area Medical Center:
- Children have the right to be respected as unique individuals and to be members of the family regardless of needs complicated by hospitalization.
- Children have the right to establish and maintain parent-child relationships including 24-hour visitation and rooming in with their parents unless such visitation interferes with safety or recovery.
- Children have the right to communicate with and/or visit siblings unless visitation interferes with safety or recovery.
- Children have the right to receive age and developmentally appropriate care that includes space, equipment and programs for the wide range of play, education and social activities essential to growth and development.
- Children have the right to already established supportive home patterns of interactions and routines.
- Children have the right, in the absence of their parents, to have consistent emotional support and nurturing care.
- Children have the right to an environment that is aware of the individual's ethnic, cultural and developmental needs.
- Children have the right to receive care from professionals skilled in assessing emotional, physical, developmental and academic needs.
- Children's families have the right to assistance concerning finances, housing and coping needs during hospitalization.
- Children have the right to reasonable responses to needs for comfort and pain relief.
- Recognizing children are often unable to voice their needs or assert their rights as individuals, Charleston Area Medical Center acknowledges the parent's responsibility to represent the child in decisions and strives to support the autonomy and competence of the family. This position is supported by the Informed Consent Policy. In the event a parent or guardian's decision is believed by the physician to seriously endanger the child's health or safety,
Charleston Area Medical Center will pursue avenues necessary for a resolution that protects the child.