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Patient rights and responsibilities

No matter your reason for entering the Berger Health System, you have rights and responsibilities. That's even true of our pediatric patients. Understanding those rights and responsibilities could help you play an active role in your care. And deepening your understanding could help you know when to reach out if something doesn't go as planned.

These are our patient's rights and responsibilities, broken out for adults and children. Please reach out with questions, or you can report a complaint. We welcome your feedback.


Adult patients

Every patient has the right to:

  • Competent, respectful and hospitable care, regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, source of payment for care, or psychological and spiritual variables.
  • Identify a support person to relieve stress and provide emotional support. This right is limited if the presence of the support person infringes on others' rights, compromises safety or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.
  • Designate a surrogate decision-maker. That surrogate-decision maker may be a family member, which is broadly defined to include friends and same-sex partners.
  • Receive visitors they designate, including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner, another family member or a friend. Consent can be withdrawn or denied at any time.
  • Visitation privileges that are not restricted or denied based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Equal visitation privileges consistent with patient preferences.
  • Information provided in a manner they understand.
  • Formulate advance directives (which include a durable power of attorney for healthcare, living will, and do-not-resuscitate program, and participate in the consideration of ethical care issues.
  • Receive information from their physicians regarding their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
  • Have their personal physicians notified of their admissions.
  • Participate actively in their care plans, including pain management, through direct discussion with physicians and nursing staff.
  • Effective pain management, including receiving information about pain and pain relief measures, as well as an explanation of the potential limitations and side effects of pain treatment.
  • Accept or refuse medical care or treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of refusal.
  • Refuse to participate in experimentation, research or educational projects.
  • Expect physicians and staff to maintain confidentiality of medical records and information pertaining to care and respect for privacy and dignity.
  • Know the name and position of caregivers. Physicians and staff must introduce themselves and wear name badges.
  • Receive a copy of and assistance in interpreting their hospital bills.
  • Access people outside the hospital by means of visitors and by verbal and written communication.
  • Request communication assistance or an interpreter, if needed.
  • Comfort and dignity in terminal situations, effective pain management and assistance through the grieving process.
  • Pastoral or other spiritual care.
  • An environment that preserves dignity and contributes to a positive self-image.
  • Be free of restraints of any form that are not medically necessary.
  • Access, request amendment to and receive an accounting of disclosures regarding their health information.
  • Information on rights and responsibilities and mechanisms of initiation; review and resolution of concerns, complaints or grievances.
  • Wear appropriate personal clothing, religious or other symbolic items, as long as they do not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatment.
  • Have a person of their own sex present during certain parts of physical exams, treatments or procedures performed by a health professional of the opposite sex, and not to remain disrobed any longer than required for accomplishing the medical purpose.
  • Give permission for the presence of individuals not directly involved in their care.
  • Give consent for video or electronic monitoring or recording.
  • Request a transfer to another room if another patient or visitors are unreasonably disturbing them.
  • Be placed in protective privacy when considered necessary for personal safety.
  • Access protective or advocacy services.
  • Appeal denial of care or premature discharge.

Pediatric patients

All of our pediatric patients (and their parents/guardians/family members) have the right to:

  • Be called by name.
  • Receive a smile and loving care.
  • Be given careful evaluation and courteous, prompt treatment.
  • Designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient.
  • Visitation privileges that are not restricted, limited or otherwise denied on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Ensure all visitors are given equal visitation privileges consistent with patient preferences.
  • Know the names of doctors, nurses and any others who help provide care.
  • Have basic needs met, including being clean, dry, comfortable and without restraints whenever possible.
  • Have as normal a schedule as possible, which might include uninterrupted sleep, quiet time, playtime, school and the comfort of parents and family members.
  • Have the schedule designed for patient convenience as much as possible. (Sometimes schedules do not permit this.)
  • Have a schedule for tests and procedures that doesn't keep the patient hungry or thirsty any longer than necessary.
  • Make choices whenever possible when they do not interfere with the quality of care.
  • Cry and make noise.
  • Have parents with them anytime that they are able to stay, as long as it doesn't interfere with care.
  • Have an interpreter for the patient and the family, if needed.
  • Request communication assistance, if needed.
  • Be told what's happening to them and have questions answered honestly, in words they can understand.
  • Have confidentiality about their illnesses.
  • Have access to an ethical review.
  • Have information on rights and responsibilities and the mechanisms of initiation, review and resolution of concerns, complaints or grievances.
  • Understand that doctors will be professionally discussing their situation so that they can get the best care. Sometimes these discussions will take place over patient beds, in patient rooms or in the hallway. Parents and patients have the right to know what's happening whenever possible.


Adult patients

Every adult patient is responsible for:

  • Providing information to physicians and staff regarding present illness, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medication and other personal health matters.
  • Asking questions about directions, procedures and other information they don't understand.
  • Cooperating with physicians and caregivers in the care plan.
  • Consideration and respect for others, including hospital staff.
  • Consideration and respect of property.
  • Abiding by hospital rules and regulations.
  • Notifying their nurses prior to leaving their rooms.
  • Reporting any changes in their conditions to physicians or caregivers.
  • Accepting the consequences of not following the prescribed care plan.
  • Reporting any safety concerns or perceived risks.
  • After discharge, keeping all scheduled appointments and giving a 24-hour cancellation notice if unavoidable.

Pediatric patients

Pediatric patients (and their parents/guardians/family members) are responsible for:

  • Giving information about their health.
  • Reporting changes in their condition.
  • Reporting safety concerns or perceived risks.
  • Telling care providers when patients do not understand the plan of care or what is expected of them.
  • Following the treatment plan.
  • Knowing the consequences if they choose not to follow the treatment plan.
  • Knowing that if they refuse treatment, the outcome is their responsibility.
  • Following Berger Health System rules about patient care and conduct.
  • Being considerate of the rights of other patients and staff.
  • Helping control noise, smoking and distractions.
  • Respecting the property of others and of Berger Health System.

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