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Patient Bill of Rights

As a patient at Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital and/or Watauga Medical Center, you are a partner in your hospital care. When you are well informed, help make decisions, and talk openly with hospital staff, you help make your care better. This list tells you in everyday terms all the ways this facility respects each person. Please ask your nurse or social worker if you would like a copy of the official patient rights.

  1. You have the right to respectful care, no matter these factors:
    • Age
    • Race
    • Color
    • Religion
    • Culture
    • Language
    • Physical or mental challenges
    • Income level
    • Education level
    • Whether you are male or female
    • Whether you are gay or straight
    • Whether you are transgender or not
    • National origin
    • Source of payment
  2. You have the right to receive a written list of your rights and duties.
  3. You have the right to respectful care that honors your values and beliefs. You have the right to care in a safe setting, by people who know and care about what they are doing.
  4. You have the right to have your religious and spiritual beliefs and values respected.
  5. You have the right to know the name and role of all your caregivers.
  6. You have the right to privacy in your medical care. Care discussions, exams, and treatments will be done in ways that protect your dignity.
  7. You have the right to keep and use your own items as space permits, and when they do not hinder your care or the rights of others.
  8. You have the right to share a room with your husband or wife if you are both in the same facility, if you both agree, and if the arrangement does not risk your care and safety.
  9. You have the right to be free from all forms of abuse. Restraints will only be used to keep you and others safe, and must be removed as soon as possible.
  10. If English is not your first language, you have the right to an interpreter who speaks your language.
  11. You have the right to receive information you can understand if you have trouble with speech, vision, hearing, or understanding.
  12. You have the right for emergency procedures to be done without unnecessary delay.
  13. You have the right not to be woken up by hospital staff unless it is necessary.
  14. You have the right not to get unnecessary procedures.
  15. You have the right to treatment that avoids unnecessary discomfort.
  16. You have the right to be told, in terms that make sense, all information about your condition and treatment, including other options and possible problems. When it is not possible to give the information to you, it will be explained to your next of kin.
  17. You have the right to agree to, refuse, or stop any treatment that is offered. Your doctor will talk with you about what might happen if you take or do not take those treatments. Except for emergencies, a doctor must get your permission before beginning any treatment.
  18. You have the right to help make decisions in your care and to be told before any changes are made.
  19. You have the right to choose which visitors you want, at any time during your stay, except when a doctor says your care requires limiting visitors.
  20. You have the right to fill out advance orders including a Living Will, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and organ and tissue donation requests, and for staff to follow those written wishes.
  21. You have the right to have a family member and your own doctor told that you are in the hospital. You have the right to choose someone to be with you to provide emotional support during your stay. These privileges may be put on hold if the visitor hinders your care and safety, or the rights of others.
  22. You have the right to have your medical records read only by people with a need to know. Information about you will be released only with your permission, or if it is required or allowed by law.
  23. You have the right to request and see your medical record promptly, unless the doctor limits access for medical reasons.
  24. You have the right to ask for changes to your medical record and to know who outside the facility has seen your record.
  25. You have the right to agree or not agree to take part in research. Doctors must get your permission before the research starts. You may refuse to take part or stop taking part in research at any time without losing your access to other appropriate care.
  26. If you ask, you have the right to get help finding a second opinion with another doctor. This may be at your own expense.
  27. You have the right to be moved to another facility when needed. The need will be explained, as well as other choices you have. The other facility must accept you before you are moved.
  28. You have the right to receive a clear explanation of your bill.
  29. You have the right to know about financial help for your healthcare costs.
  30. You have the right to understand your healthcare needs after discharge.
  31. You have the right to contact any individual or agency whose job is to protect your rights.
  32. You have the right to have your concerns and complaints reviewed by the facility. You may share your concerns by calling the Compliance/ Risk Management Department at (828) 262-4239.


Patient Responsibilities

  1. You should be honest and complete when you tell doctors and nurses about your health. Include these items:
    • Past illnesses
    • Other hospital stays
    • Current complaints
    • Use of medicine
    • Risks in your care
    • Unexpected changes in your condition
    • What you need from hospital staff
    • You should report pain and help your doctors and nurses assess your pain.
  2. You should ask questions when you do not understand information or instructions.
  3. You should follow instructions and accept the costs of your personal choices.
  4. You should tell your doctor if you don’t think you can follow your treatment plan.
  5. You and your visitors should be considerate and respectful of hospital staff and property. You should also respect the needs of other patients and visitors and their property. You should follow the rules of the facility, including not smoking.
  6. You and your family should provide information for insurance and pay your hospital bills. You can ask for payment options when needed.
  7. You should recognize the effect of your life choices on your health.
  8. You should keep appointments and tell the appropriate healthcare office when you are unable to do so.
  9. You and your family should assist staff to keep you safe:
    • Follow staff safety instructions
    • Keep your name band on at all times
    • Help staff know who you are so they know they have the right person
    • Wash your hands and follow instructions to keep infections from spreading
    • Tell staff when alarms are making noise in your room

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