2-2 THE PATIENT
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize the Patients’ Bill of Rights and
No discussion about healthcare or the healthcare team would be complete
without including the patient, often referred to as the consumer. A patient is a
human being under the care of one or more healthcare providers. The patient may
or may not be hospitalized. However, regardless of healthcare needs or
environmental disposition, the patient is the most important part of the
healthcare team. Without a patient, the healthcare team has little, if any,
reason for existence.
As a medical technician, you are tasked to provide every patient committed to
your charge with the best care possible. This care must reflect your belief in
the value and dignity of every person as an individual. Additionally, you must
understand the patient’s rights and responsibilities as they apply to providing
and receiving healthcare services.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has
developed standards that address the rights and responsibilities of patients.
next two sections review the rights and responsibilities of patients when they
enter a relationship with a healthcare service facility. Students seeking
additional detailed information should refer to the Patients’Bill of Rights and
Responsibilities the Accreditation Manual for Hospitals
published by the JCAHO.
The following are the patient’s rights:
- Medical Care and Dental Care—A patient has the right to quality care and
treatment consistent with available resources and generally accepted standards.
The patient has the right to refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and
government regulations. However, the patient should be informed of the
consequences of refusal.
- Respectful Treatment—A patient has the right to considerate and respectful
care, with recognition of his personal dignity.
- Privacy and Confidentiality—A patient, within law and military regulations,
is entitled to privacy and confidentiality concerning medical care.
- Identity—A patient has the right to know, at all times, the identity,
professional status, and professional credentials of healthcare personnel, as
well as the name of the healthcare provider primarily responsible for his care.
- Explanation of Care—A patient has the right to an explanation concerning his
diagnosis, treatment, procedures, and prognosis of illness in terms the patient
- Informed Consent—A patient has the right to be advised in nonclinical terms
of information needed to make knowledgeable decisions on consent or refusal of
treatments. Such information should include significant complications, risks,
benefits, and alternative treatments available.
- Research Projects—A patient has the right to be advised if the facility
proposes to engage in or perform research associated with his care or treatment.
The patient has the right to refuse to participate in any research projects.
- Safe Environment—A patient has the right to care and treatment in a safe
- Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) or Dental Treatment Facility (DTF) Rules
and Regulations—A patient has the right to be informed of the facility’s rules
and regulations that relate to patient or visitor conduct. The patient is
entitled to information for the initiation, review, and resolution of patient
The following are the patient’s responsibilities:
- Providing Information—A patient has the responsibility to provide, to the
best of his knowledge, accurate and complete information about complaints, past
illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to his
- Respect and Consideration—A patient has the responsibility to be
considerate of the rights of other patients and MTF or DTF healthcare personnel,
and to assist in the control of noise, smoking, and the number of visitors. The
patient is responsible for being respectful of the property of other persons and
of the facility.
- Compliance with Medical Care—A patient is responsible for complying with
the medical and nursing treatment plan, including followup care recommended by
- Medical Records—A patient is responsible for ensuring that medical records
are promptly returned to the medical facility for appropriate filing and
maintenance when those records are transported by the patient for the purpose of
medical appointments or consultation, etc.
- MTF and DTF Rules and Regulations—A patient is responsible for following
the MTF or DTF rules and regulations affecting patient care.
- Reporting of Patient Complaints—Apatient is responsible for helping the MTF
or DTF commander provide the best possible care to all beneficiaries. The
patient’s recommendations, questions, or complaints should be reported to the
patient contact representative.