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Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights

You have the right to receive considerate, respectful and compassionate care in a safe setting regardless of your age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex (sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and pregnancy), protected veteran status, marital status, genetic information, or any other protected characteristics under applicable federal, state, or local law.

You have the right to receive care in a dignity-preserving, safe environment, free from all forms of abuse, neglect, harassment or mistreatment.

You have the right to a complete and understandable explanation of your illness, treatment, pain, alternatives and expected outcomes from treatment, including unexpected outcomes.

You have the right to communication that you can understand. Information given will be appropriate to your age, understanding and language. We will provide sign language and foreign language interpretive services as needed at no cost. If you have speech, hearing, vision or other impairments, you will receive additional aids to meet your needs.

You have the right to receive visitors, who you designate, including but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner, another family member, or a friend. Patient visitation is only restricted by hospital personnel when the visitor’s presence infringes on others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated for you. You may also change or withdraw your consent to visitation privileges at any time during your inpatient stay.

You have the right to access, request amendment to, and obtain information on disclosers of your health information. Additionally, you can expect that your health record is maintained confidentially to the extent permitted by law. You have the right to obtain a copy of your health record by contacting the Health Information Management at (804) 828-0980.

You have the right to make decisions about your care, including the right to refuse care, the right to leave the facility, and the right to be informed in writing of potential health risks related to care refusal or departure. You do not have the right to demand treatment or services deemed medically unnecessary or inappropriate.

You have the right to identify a surrogate decision maker should you become unable to make decisions related to your health care.

You have the right to give or withhold informed consent. The informed consent process will include a discussion about potential benefits, risks and side effects of your planned treatment as well as the likelihood that you will achieve your goals and any problems that might occur during your recovery.

You have the right to give or withhold consent for recordings, photographs, films or other images of you to be produced or used for internal or external purposes other than identification, diagnosis or treatment. You do not have the right to take any photographs, video or audio recordings of team members, other patients, visitors or health care operations without consent.

You have the right to participate or refuse to participate in medical research studies. You may withdraw from a study at any time without impacting your access to care.

You have the right to have your pain assessed and to be involved in decisions regarding treatment of your pain.

You have the right to know the names and roles of the members of your health care team.

You have the right to be free of restraints that are not medically necessary or are used inappropriately.

You have the right to be free from abuse through access to advocacy and protective service agencies. We will provide a list of protective and advocacy resources.

You have the right to spiritual care and religious support services consistent with personal beliefs. You may ask your nurse to contact the Pastoral Care Department.

You have the right to full consideration of your privacy and confidentiality in care discussions, examinations and treatments.

You have the right to create an advance directive (a living will, health care durable power of attorney) and appoint someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable. We will honor your wishes regarding organ donation. If you do not have an advance directive, we can provide you with information and help you complete one.

You have the right to have a family member or person of your choice and your own physician notified of your admission to the hospital.

You also have the right to voice a complaint and recommend changes freely without fear of being subjected to coercion, discrimination, reprisal or unreasonable interruption of care. If you have a problem or complaint, you may share it with your doctors, nurses or nurse managers.

You and your family and/or support network also have the right to voice a complaint with the following organizations:

Patient Responsibilities

You are responsible for providing complete and accurate information about your health, medical history and personal data, including address, telephone number, date of birth, Social Security number, insurance and employer.

You are responsible for providing the hospital or physician with a copy of your advance directives if you have one.

You are responsible for asking questions of your care provider(s) when you do not understand medical explanations or treatment plans. If you are unable or unwilling to follow the plan of care, you are responsible for informing your care provider who will explain the potential medical risks of not doing so. You are responsible for the outcomes of not following your plan of care.

You are responsible for following your plan of care, including purchasing supplies, medications and other items required for self-care at home.

You are responsible for providing complete and accurate information about your health and medical history including present condition, medications, past surgeries and hospitalizations.

You are responsible for leaving your personal valuables at home and only bringing necessary items to the hospital.

You are responsible for extending courtesy and respect to all VCU Health staff, fellow patients and visitors. You are responsible for following all VCU Health rules and safety regulations.

You are responsible for meeting your financial obligation to VCU Health, including providing accurate medical insurance information or complete and accurate information for financial screening. 

Designated Support Person

A patient with a disability, who requires support and assistance due to the disability, may elect to be accompanied by a designated support person during an admission, Observation or Ambulatory Surgery. If the inpatient admission lasts more than 24 hours, the patient may designate more than one designated support person to accompany the patient at different times throughout the stay. However, such designated support person will be required to comply with all reasonable requirements of our facility, and be restricted to specific areas of the premises, to protect health and safety. Our facility may request documentation indicating that a patient has a disability or perform an objective assessment if no documentation is provided.

A designated support person is an individual who is eighteen years of age or older, knowledgeable about the needs of the patient and who is designated to provide necessary support and assistance, including physical assistance, emotional support, and assistance with communication or decision-making.

Revised October 2022