Patient Rights & Responsibilities
Your Rights as a Patient at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
We strive to preserve your rights as an individual. We also ask that you and your visitors be considerate of the rights of others.
You have the Right to:
- Have your own physician and the person of your choice notified of your admission to the hospital.
- The person of your choice can be with you for emotional support during your hospital stay, as long as it does not interfere with the rights and safety of others or your agreed upon plan of care.
- Know the names of the doctors and staff on your care team. We encourage you to ask them any questions you might have.
- You should expect a reasonable response to your questions and requests for help.
- Be treated with respect and dignity. This includes being called by the name you choose, and to feel safe while in the hospital.
- Your cultural background, spiritual and personal values, beliefs, and preferences should be respected.
- You and the visitors that you choose will not be discriminated against based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
- Know about your diagnosis or illness so that you can take part in the planning of your care and know how decisions will affect your health and well-being.
- You may request to talk with different doctors about procedures, tests and the results, as well as the medical outlook for your future.
- You may say "no" to any care, tests or treatments, to the extent permitted by law.
- You are encouraged to complete Advance Directives and talk about end-of-life decisions.
- You have the right to receive information in a manner you will understand and to have the person of your choice involved in making decisions, as you request.
- Minimize your pain as much as possible during your hospital stay, during a test, or during a treatment.
- You, your family, the doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff will help you to make and understand a plan to manage your pain.
- We will check with you about how you are feeling and change the plan to manage your pain as much as possible.
- Reasonable privacy.
- You may expect to talk with your doctors, nurses, social workers, or other healthcare professionals in private, and know that the information you give will be shared only with those people who need it to do their job.
- Know the information in your medical record.
- Your medical records are private.
- Certain conditions, such as cancer, cases of some infectious diseases, work-related contact with poisons or other dangerous materials, and cases of child abuse, must be reported, even without your permission. In some cases involving concern about the care you receive, the medical center may disclose information in medical records to its own lawyers and agents.
- To speak with any member of your healthcare team, Patient and Family Relations or specially trained volunteers called Patient Representative/Voices Volunteers if you are unhappy with your care. We ask that you speak with us first in order to try and help you with your concerns.
- Patient and Family Relations can be reached at (603) 650-4429. If we cannot meet your needs, you can contact:
- The Office of NH Ombudsman at (603) 271-6941 or (800) 852-3345, x6941
- The Bureau of Health Facilities Administration at (603) 271-4592 or (800) 852-3345, x4592
- The Joint Commission at (800) 994-6610
- Be told fully about any research study in which you are asked to take part. This discussion should occur before you agree to enter the study.
- If you are under the age of 18, your parent or guardian must give permission before any tests or treatments can be carried out in the course of the research study.
- You have the right to refuse to take part in a research study. If you refuse to take part, it will not affect receiving treatment here in the future.
- Understand instructions you will receive before leaving the hospital or clinic.
- These instructions will describe how you and your family can participate in your recovery and ongoing health care plan once you are at home.
- Leave the hospital, even if your doctor advises against it. You may not leave if you have certain infectious diseases that could affect the health of others, if you are not able to provide for your own health and safety or other people's safety is at risk, as defined by law.
- You must sign a form saying the Medical Center is not responsible for any harm that comes to you as a result of leaving the facility.
- In order to reduce concerns about paying your bill, you will be told of services available to help in paying for your care.
- You have the right to look at and receive an explanation of your bills.
- This information can be obtained through Patient Financial Services at (800) 368-4783.
Your Responsibilities as a Patient
When you are a patient at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, you, your family and your visitors have the responsibility to:
- Provide accurate and complete information about your past and present health including:
- Sharing with your doctor or nurse if you think you are at risk and/or if your health has changed.
- Information about Advanced Directives (Living Will and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) and who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Ask questions about anything you do not understand, including your treatment plan or what is expected of you. This includes making sure you understand the potential risks, benefits and side effects of your treatment.
- Follow the plan that is developed by you and your treatment team.
- If you have a concern about the plan, it is your responsibility to talk about it with your doctors and nurses.
- Accept responsibility for your actions.
- Your treatment plan may include recommendations about exercise, eating a healthy diet and not smoking. Smoking is not allowed on Dartmouth-Hitchcock property.
- Follow the rules and regulations of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
- Be respectful at all times to the staff, other patients, visitors and Dartmouth-Hitchcock property.
- Make a good faith effort to pay your medical bills in a timely fashion or ask for appropriate assistance.
If you have questions about your rights as a patient, or if you would like a copy of the state law which lists your rights, please call Care Management at (603) 650-5789.