Patient Rights and Responsibilities
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH), Inc. has a tradition of excellent, quality medical care for all patients. In its commitment to this guiding principle of high level care, TJUH supports your right to participate in the healthcare decisions that affect your well-being.
TJUH recognizes that patients have certain rights in their relationship with the hospital and their physicians. These rights also apply in the case of neonates, children and adolescents and to their families and legal guardians. It is our goal to provide medical care that is effective and considerate within our capacity, mission and philosophy, and that is compliant with applicable law and regulation, as described in the following paragraphs. We recognize our ethical responsibility to the patients and community we serve and therefore operate and provide all services according to a code of conduct. If we fail to meet our goals, please let us know. Your comments will be of help to us and to future patients.
We are proud of TJUH and believe that our pride is reflected in the concern and quality of care that you receive while you are a patient here. The statement that follows also reflects the interest and philosophy of our medical staff who enthusiastically endorse the principles contained in this message.
David P. McQuaid, FACHE
You Have the Right ...
...to be informed of your rights as a patient
You may expect that every reasonable effort will be made to inform you of your rights as a patient as early as possible during the course of your hospitalization. In addition, you have the right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to your conduct as a patient.
...to exercise your rights
While we recognize your right to participate in your care and treatment to the fullest extent possible, there are circumstances under which you may be unable to do so. In the event that you are unable to exercise these rights on your own behalf, then these rights (and responsibilities) are applicable to your designated/legal representative, guardian or other surrogate. In these situations (i.e. if you have been adjudicated incompetent in accordance with law, are found by your physician to lack the capacity to understand a proposed treatment or procedure, are unable to communicate your wishes regarding treatment or are an unemancipated minor), your rights are to be exercised, to the extent permitted by law, by representative designated by you or by another legally designated surrogate.
...to have an advance directive
You have the right to formulate an advance directive about your healthcare, such as a living will or a durable power of attorney. If applicable, you or your surrogate is responsible for providing a copy of your advance directive to the hospital. You are not required to have or to complete an advance directive in order to receive care and treatment at TJUH, but, when competent, you have the right at any time to appoint a surrogate to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. It is your right to have your decisions and preferences embodied in an advance directive or through a surrogate honored by TJUH and its healthcare professionals within the bounds of prevailing law, accepted medical practice and this organization’s mission, values and philosophy.
...to receive adequate information to participate in your care
You have the right to informed participation in decisions relating to your medical care. If you cannot or are unwilling to make an independent medical decision for yourself, your surrogate(s) will participate in treatment decisions on your behalf. If conflict regarding your care exists among your surrogates, or among your surrogates and the care team, the hospital will offer resources and guidance to help resolve the conflict. This includes, but is not limited to, a care conference with your attending physician and other members of your care team, mediation through the Departments of Case Management, Social Work and the Office of Patient and Family Experience, and consultation with the Hospital Ethics Committee, as warranted.
...to request or decline treatment
Your right to make decisions about your healthcare is respected at TJUH. You may refuse any drug, treatment or procedure offered by TJUH to the extent permitted by law and TJUH policies. In the event that you become gravely or terminally ill, you may request or refuse resuscitative services or life-support technology, within the bounds of accepted medical practice, prevailing law and TJUH policies. You will be informed of the risks, benefits and alternatives of a proposed treatment, in accordance with legal requirements and TJUH policy, including the medical consequences of your decision to accept or refuse the medical care. However, the responsibility for those consequences following any such decision remains with you or your surrogate.
...to have privacy and confidentiality respected
You have the right to every consideration of privacy related to your medical care at TJUH. Examinations, treatments, discussions and consultations concerning your care will be conducted discreetly and handled confidentially, including providing reasonable visual and auditory privacy, to the extent possible. As long as it does not interfere with diagnostic procedures or treatments, you have the right to request that someone be present while a physical examination, treatment or procedure is being performed.
You have the right to confidentiality of all information related to your care, including medical records, except as otherwise provided by law or by your agreement to arrangements with third-party payers (such as Blue Cross or Medicare) that require TJUH to provide information. You have the right to have your medical records read only by individuals involved directly in your care, by individuals monitoring the quality of your care, or by individuals otherwise authorized by law or regulation.
...to be treated with respect as an individual
Your personal dignity and self worth are important to TJUH. You have the right to be treated in a dignified and respectful manner by all TJUH personnel. This policy reflects our consideration of all patients' cultural and personal values, beliefs and preferences, and is designed to optimize your comfort and dignity. You have the right to be cared for by staff educated about patient rights and their role in supporting those rights. You have the right to have a family member or representative of your choice and your physician notified promptly of your admission to the hospital. You have the right to have issues related to care at the end of life addressed with sensitivity. You have the right to participate in the consideration of ethical issues surrounding your care within the framework established by this organization to consider such issues. This may include an ethics consultation or a meeting with the larger Ethics Committee.
...to know the identity of hospital personnel
You have the right, upon request, to be given the name of your attending physician and the names of all other physicians participating directly in your care. This includes the names and professional status of all other healthcare personnel including medical students, residents and all other trainees having direct contact with you. All TJUH personnel will be properly identified by ID badge or other means.
Because this is an academic medical facility, you will meet nurses, physicians and other healthcare personnel in training, who may be involved in your care. The educational programs at TJUH enhance our ability to provide the most up-to-date and efficient patient care, thus the presence of these additional professionals adds to the quality of the care you receive.
...to be informed of experimental, research, donor programs and educational activities
You have the right to a full explanation of any experimental, research or donor program or any educational activity in which you may be asked to participate. No experimental, research, donor program or educational activity will be carried out without your informed consent or that of a designated/legal representative prior to the actual participation in such a program. If you are asked to participate in a study, you or your designated/legal representative have the right to refuse or to withdraw your consent at any time, even after you have given your informed consent to participate. Any such refusal to participate or decision to withdraw will not in any way jeopardize your access to care, treatment or services unrelated to the research or educational activity.
...to give or withhold informed consent
In accordance with requirements under the law and TJUH policy, you or your surrogate have the right to receive, in advance of treatment or contemplated procedure, a full explanation of the care, treatment and services from your physician so that you may exercise your right of informed consent. You have the right to full information in terms that you can reasonably understand concerning your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, including information about alternative modes of treatment and possible complications. If you feel the need for further explanation concerning the information given, you may ask your physician about the results of examinations and tests, the treatment or operations planned, the persons who will administer your care and the expected outcome of your treatment.
...to be free from restraints
Except when medically necessary, in accordance with legal and policy requirements, you have the right to be free from restraints or seclusion.
...to receive prompt emergency treatment
You have the right to expect emergency procedures to be undertaken as promptly as feasible without unnecessary delay.
...to receive quality healthcare
You have the right to excellent, quality healthcare, maintained to the highest professional standards. TJUH continually monitors and reviews care rendered to patients and seeks ways to improve performance and quality.
...to be communicated with clearly
You have a right to be communicated with in a manner that is clear, concise and tailored to your age, language and ability to understand. If you do not speak English as a preferred language or if you have a hearing, vision, speech or cognitive impairment, you should have access, where possible, to an interpreter, signer, or other assistive mechanisms to aid with conveying the necessary information. The Office of Patient and Family Experience or other appropriate personnel will make every effort to provide you with an interpreter, signer or other communication aids during your hospital stay.
In the event it is necessary to restrict visitors, mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication as a component of your care, you will be provided with a clear explanation regarding this action.
...to receive consultation
You have the right to request and receive assistance in obtaining a consultation from another physician at any time. A consultation is the medical opinion of another physician; it is obtained at the patient’s expense.
...to an advocate
You have the right, without recrimination, to voice complaints regarding your care and to have those complaints reviewed, and when possible, resolved. As part of the hospital’s grievance process, a patient representative is available to provide support and assistance regarding any concern or problems that you may encounter. To reach a patient representative, please refer to the information found at the end of this document. Regardless of whether or not you utilize the hospital process, you also have the right to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health by calling (800) 254-5164 or by writing to PA Department of Health, Division of Acute and Ambulatory Care, P.O. Box 90, Harrisburg, PA 17108. You may also contact The Joint Commission, Office of Quality Monitoring, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; phone (800) 994-6610
You cannot be denied the right of access to an individual or agency that is authorized to act on your behalf to assert or protect the rights set out in this section.
...to access protective services
You have the right to expect TJUH to support your right to access protective services (i.e. guardianship and advocacy services, conservatorship, and child or adult protective services).
...to receive services without discrimination
You have the right to appropriate medical and nursing services without discrimination based upon age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
...to experience good hospital management
You have the right to expect good management techniques to be implemented within TJUH. As an example, you may expect that every effort will be made to avoid unnecessary delay in providing services. If other patients or visitors cause unreasonable disturbance for you, you may request a room transfer, which will be honored if another room equally suitable for your care needs is readily available. You have the right to receive care in a safe environment and be free from neglect, exploitation, and verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse. You have the right to request to see a copy of TJUH’s Code of Conduct Policy.
...to receive appropriate pain management
Your right to pain management is respected and supported. Since pain can be a common part of the patient experience, care is planned and coordinated to assure that your pain is recognized and addressed appropriately. You will be able to participate in your pain management by telling us about your level of pain and about how well the interventions have helped you. We will also work with you to understand how to manage your pain after discharge.
...to access medical records
Under Pennsylvania law, you or your designated/legal representative have the right, upon request, to have access to all information contained in your medical records, unless access is specifically restricted for medical reasons or is prohibited by law. We urge you to direct any questions you have regarding your medical records to your attending physician. As a general rule, we recommend that during your hospital stays, you review your medical record only with your physician.
...to know about discharge plans
You have the right to participate in all decisions made concerning your discharge from the hospital and to be informed of continuing healthcare requirements and the resources for meeting them after discharge. TJUH offers several resources to assist you in your planning. A case manager will assist you in meeting your nursing or healthcare needs at home. A social worker or a case manager is available to provide counseling and advice for assistance at home or for continuing care at another facility.
...to be transferred to another facility
When TJUH cannot meet a patient's needs, whether as a result of a conflict with our mission, philosophy, available resources or capabilities, or if a patient requests to be moved from TJUH, you may be transferred to another healthcare facility, when medically permissible. Such a transfer should be made only after TJUH gives you or your designated legal representative complete information and an explanation concerning the requirements for, and alternatives to, such a transfer. In accordance with applicable law, you can be assured that the facility to which you are being transferred has accepted you for admission and that your complete records will be forwarded with you.
...to understand charges for medical services
You have a right to examine and receive a complete explanation of your bill. The business office will provide assistance in filling out and processing insurance forms. You are encouraged to contact a TJUH financial counselor if you have any questions concerning your insurance coverage. Upon your request, the counselor can also be of help in providing additional information about the availability of financial resources from outside sources to help you in the payment of your hospital bills.
...to have visitors during an inpatient stay
You have the right to whether or not you wish to have visitors during your hospital stay. You can designate those persons who can visit, and those individuals do not need to be legally related to you. You have the right to designate a support person to be with you and who may also determine who can visit you if you become incapacitated. You have the responsibility to understand that there may be times when the hospital will need to limit visitors in order to better care for all patients.
Your Responsibilities ...
...to act in accord with hospital rules and regulations
Observe Smoking Regulations
As a healthcare institution, TJUH is committed to providing a clean and healthy environment. Because of the many health risks associated with smoking, the hospital has established a no-smoking policy for patients and visitors. Therefore, smoking within any TJUH building is prohibited except by physician order for inpatients on the Behavioral Health Unit.
Observe Visiting Hours
Visiting hours will vary according to the unit to which you are assigned. Please ask your visitors to come at the proper times. If there is a problem, please speak with the nurse in charge who will make every effort to accommodate you and your visitors needs.
Pay Bills Promptly
It is understood that you assume the financial responsibility of paying for all services rendered either through third-party payers (e.g., the insurance company) or from your own personal resources for payment of any services that are not covered by your insurance. If you are having financial problems, please call a TJUH financial counselor immediately so that suitable arrangements may be made for you.
Update Your Medical Records
Please notify TJUH if your name, address or telephone number changes during your hospitalization or during the few months immediately following your discharge. Please send this information to the medical records department (Health Information Management).
...to answer questions fully
You or your designated/legal representative have the responsibility to provide your physician and other TJUH personnel with accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, advance directives and all other matters relating to your health history in order for you to receive effective medical treatment. You are also responsible for communicating your concerns about perceived risks associated with your medical treatment.
...to ask questions and be cooperative
You are responsible for responding to your caregivers and reporting whether you clearly comprehend a contemplated course of action and what is expected of you. In order to facilitate your care and the efforts of TJUH personnel, you are expected to help the physicians, nurses and allied medical personnel in their efforts to provide care by following their instructions and medical orders. If you choose not to follow these instructions and medical orders, you will be responsible for the consequences of your decision. TJUH expects that you will cooperate with all TJUH personnel and ask questions if directions and/or procedures are not clearly understood. Duly authorized members of your family or designated/legal representative are expected to be available to TJUH personnel as needed for review of your treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate with the healthcare providers even with proper assistive mechanisms.
...to be considerate of others
You have the responsibility to be mutually considerate and respectful of other patients and hospital staff and to see that your visitors are considerate as well, particularly with regard to noise level and the no-smoking policy. Please do not play your television or radio loudly. Many patients require a quiet atmosphere for management of their health problems. You are also expected to be respectful of the property of others and the property of TJUH.
...to refrain from taking unauthorized drugs
It is expected that you will not take drugs which have not been prescribed by your attending physician and administered by TJUH staff and that you will not complicate or endanger the healing process by consuming alcoholic beverages or toxic substances during your hospital stay.
...to request further information and guidance
No list of guidelines can ever describe fully the ideal relationships that should exist among you, your physician, and TJUH staff. We strive to deliver healthcare in a spirit of excellence, mutual trust, cooperation and respect. We trust the information provided in this booklet will give you greater insight into how we hope to achieve this aim and how you can participate in advancing and sustaining it.
If you would like further information or would like to express your point of view on any aspect of your healthcare, please contact:
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Office of Patient and Family Experience
Room 1880, Gibbon Building
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Within the hospital, dial 5-7777
Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience
Office of Patient and Family Experience
Room 1880, Gibbon Building
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Within the hospital, dial 5-7777
Patient Services Department
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.