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Patient Rights and Responsibilities: Patient Handbook

Welcome to UTMB Health. As a patient of this hospital, or as a family member or surrogate decision maker of a patient at this hospital, we want you to know you have choices, rights and responsibilities. We are committed to honoring your rights and want you to know that by taking an active role in your health care, you can help your hospital caregivers meet your needs as a patient or family member. That is why we ask you and your family share with us certain responsibilities.

Patients (and, as applicable, family members or surrogate decision makers) have the right to:



You have the right to:

• Have access to effective communication.
• Receive information in a way that you understand. This includes interpretation and translation, free of charge, in the language you prefer for talking about your health care. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech or cognitive impairments.
• Designate a surrogate decision maker in case the patient is incapable of understanding a proposed treatment or procedure or is unable to communicate his or her wishes regarding care.

Informed Decisions

You and your surrogate decision maker have the right to:

• Be informed about and participate in decisions regarding care, treatment and services, including the right to have his or her physician notified of admission to hospital.
• Be informed about the outcomes of care, including unanticipated outcomes.
• Refuse care, treatment and services.
• Make choices about your care based on your spiritual and personal values, and receive access to pastoral counseling and other spiritual services.
• Designate a decision maker who may act on your behalf in case you become unable or incapable of communicating your wishes regarding care.


You have the right to:

• Receive and designate visitors, including family, loved ones, friends and others. You also have the right to change or deny this decision at any time. The hospital may need to limit visitors to better care for you or other patients. No visitor will be denied based upon race, religion, beliefs, cultural values, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran or financial status.
• Have a family member, friend or individual present with you for emotional support. In some instances, the hospital may restrict a patient’s visitors, mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication. In these instances, the restrictions are evaluated for their therapeutic effectiveness.
• Access protective services (such as child or adult protective services, guardianship, or the state survey and certification agency).
• Designate a support person who may determine who can visit you if you become incapacitated.

Advance Directives

You have the right to:

• Create advance directives regarding care and have staff and practitioners who provide care comply with these directives.
• Participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of care, including issues of conflict resolution, withholding of resuscitative services, forgoing or withdrawal of life- sustaining treatment, and participation in investigational studies or clinical trials.
• Receive end-of-life care that is respectful and responsive and that demonstrates concern for a patient’s comfort and dignity.

Care Delivery

You have the right to:

• Receive care in a manner that is considerate, respectful of personal values and beliefs and in an environment that preserves the dignity of the patient without regard to race, religion, beliefs, cultural values, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran or financial status.
• Know the names of doctors and nurses providing care to you and the names and roles of other health care staff that are caring for you.
• Receive proper assessment and management of pain.
• Reasonable access to treatment or service.
• Certain information about any research project that the patient is asked to participate in, including expected benefits, potential discomforts and risks, alternative services that might be advantageous to them, and a full explanation of the procedures to be followed, especially those that are experimental in nature. Access to services will not be compromised for those patients who refuse to participate in a research project.

Privacy and Confidentiality

You have the right to:

• Security, personal privacy, and confidentiality of information.
• Review and request copies of your medical record unless restricted for medical or legal reasons.

Complaints, Concerns and Questions

You have the right to:
• Tell hospital staff about your concerns or complaints regarding your care. This will not affect your future care.
• Seek review of quality of care concerns, coverage decisions and concerns about discharge.
• Expect a timely response to your complaint or grievance from the hospital. Complaints or grievances may be made by contacting UTMB’s Patient Services Department.


As a patient, family member or surrogate decision maker, you have the right to know all hospital rules and what we expect of you during your hospital stay.

Provide Information

As a patient, family member or surrogate decision maker, we ask that you:\

• Provide accurate and complete information about current health care problems, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications and other matters relating to the patient’s health.
• Provide other names by which the patient has been known and any changes in address or telephone number(s).
• Report unexpected changes in the patient’ condition to their responsible practitioner.

Respect and Consideration

As a patient, family member or surrogate decision maker, we ask that you:

• Recognize and respect the rights of other patients, families and staff. Please assist in the control of noise and number of visitors. Be respectful of the property of others and of the hospital.
• Comply with the hospital’s no smoking policy.
• Refrain from conducting illegal activity on the hospital property. If such activity occurs, the hospital will report it to the police.


As a patient, family member or surrogate decision maker, we ask that you:

• Promote your own safety by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.
• Ask questions if you are concerned about your health or safety.
• Be informed about which medications you are taking and why you are taking them.
• Report whether the patient clearly understands a contemplated course of action and what is expected of them.

Refusing Care

As a patient, family member or guardian, we ask that you:

• Follow the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for the patient’s care and inform the physician whether there are obstacles that would preclude the execution of the treatment plan, including discharge instructions.

• If you or the patient refuse treatment or refuse to follow instructions (to the extent permitted under applicable law), the patient is responsible for his or her actions and any outcomes from such actions.


As a patient:

• You are responsible for paying for the health care that you received as promptly as possible.


As a patient:

• You are expected to follow the care plans suggested by the health care professionals caring for you while in the hospital. You should work with your health care professionals to develop a plan that you will be able to follow while in the hospital and after you leave the hospital.
• You are expected to follow hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.

Please contact the department of  Patient Services at 409-772-4772 if you feel you are not being afforded these rights or if you have concerns or issues you would like addressed.

Updated 2-2016



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