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Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Your rights and responsibilities as a hospital patient:

We consider you a partner in your hospital care. When you are well informed, involved in your care, and talk openly with your doctor and other healthcare workers, you can help make your care as effective as possible. Southern Maine Health Care respects the personal preferences and values of each individual.

While you are a patient in the hospital, your rights include the following:

  • You have the right to considerate and respectful care in a safe environment, free from abuse and harassment.
  • You have the right to considerate and respectful care in a safe environment, free from discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
  • You have the right to an interpreter or other aids, if needed, to help you communicate.
  • You have the right to have your personal doctor and a family member or other person you choose notified that you have been admitted to the hospital.
  • You have the right to be well informed about your illness, possible treatments, and likely outcome.
  • You have a right to discuss this information with your doctor, and to help create and implement your plan of care. You have the right to know the names and roles of people treating you.
  • You have the right to be informed of unanticipated outcomes, adverse events and medical errors.
  • Healthcare facilities are prohibited from receiving payment for serious harm that results from preventable mistakes and adverse events as defined by state law (law effective July 18, 2008).
  • You have the right to know about pain and pain relief measures and to have caring, concerned and responsive staff who are committed to pain prevention and state-of-the-art pain management.
  • You have the right to consent to or refuse a treatment, as permitted by law, throughout your hospital stay. If you refuse a recommended treatment, you will receive other needed and available care.
  • You have the right to have an Advance Directive, such as a living will or healthcare proxy. These documents express your choices about your future or name someone to decide if you cannot speak for yourself. If you have a written Advance Directive, you should provide a copy to the hospital, your family and your doctor.
  • You have the right to privacy. The hospital, your doctor and others caring for you will protect your privacy as much as possible.
  • You have the right to expect that treatment records are kept confidential unless you have given permission to release inform
  • You have the right to read your medical records and to have the information explained, request amendment to, and obtain information on disclosures of your health information, in accordance with law and regulation.
  • You have the right to expect that you will be in a safe environment and that SMHC will give you necessary health services to the best of its ability. Treatment, referral or transfer may be recommended. If transfer is recommended or requested, you will be informed of risks, benefits and alternatives. You will not be transferred until the other institution agrees to
    accept you.
  • You have the right to be free from restraints or seclusion unless necessary for medical reasons or for physical safety.
  • You have the right to know if this hospital has relationships with outside parties that may influence your treatment and care. These outside parties may be educational institutions, other healthcare providers or insurers.
  • You have the right to agree to or refuse to take part in research affecting your care. If you choose not to take part, you will receive the most effective care the hospital otherwise provides.
  • You have the right to be told of realistic care options when hospital care is no longer needed for you.
  • You have the right to know about hospital rules that affect you and your treatment, and about charges and payment methods.
  • You have the right to know about hospital resources, such as patient representatives or ethics committees, that can help you resolve problems and questions about your hospital stay.
  • You have the right to choose who may or may not visit you regardless of whether the visitor is legally related to you.
  • You have the right to receive visitors whom you designate, whether spouse, domestic partner (including same sex domestic partner), another family member or friend. You have the right to withdraw or deny such a consent at any time.
  • You have the right to have a family member, friend, or other support individual present with you during the course of your stay for emotional support. Note: The hospital allows for the presence of a support individual of the patient’s choice, unless the individual’s presence infringes on others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.
  • The hospital respects the patient’s cultural and personal values, beliefs, and preferences.
  • The hospital accommodates the patient’s right to religious and other spiritual services.

You have responsibilities as a patient.

  • You are responsible for giving information about your health, including past illnesses, hospital stays and use of medicine.
  • You are responsible for asking questions when you do not understand information or instructions.
  • You are responsible for following the care, service or treatment plan developed. If you believe you can’t follow through with your treatment, you are responsible for telling your doctor.
  • You are responsible for accepting the consequences if you do not follow the care, service or treatment plan.