Your Rights as a Patient
Hospice care doesn’t mean losing the power to make healthcare decisions for yourself or for your loved one. Our Patient Bill of Rights was developed to address your concerns and to help you understand your rights once you have made the decision to access our hospice and palliative care services.
You may also receive a copy of these rights from your local Comfort Hospice office.
Patient Bill of Rights
The patient has the right to be informed of his or her rights, and the hospice must protect and promote the exercise of these rights.
Standard: Notice of rights and responsibilities.
During the initial assessment visit in advance of furnishing care the hospice must provide the patient or representative with verbal (meaning spoken) and written notice of the patient’s rights and responsibilities in a language and manner that the patient understands.
The hospice must inform and distribute written information to the patient concerning its policies on advance directives, including a description of applicable State law.
The hospice must obtain the patient’s or representative’s signature confirming that he or she has received a copy of the notice of rights and responsibilities.
Standard: Exercise of rights and respect for property and person.
The patient has the right:
- To exercise his or her rights as a patient of the hospice;
- To have his or her property and person treated with respect;
- To voice grievances regarding treatment or care that is (or fails to be) furnished and the lack of respect for property by anyone who is furnishing services on behalf of the hospice; and
- To not be subjected to discrimination or reprisal for exercising his or her rights.
If a patient has been adjudged incompetent under state law by a court of proper jurisdiction, the rights of the patient are exercised by the person appointed pursuant to state law to act on the patient’s behalf.
If a state court has not adjudged a patient incompetent, any legal representative designated by the patient in accordance with state law may exercise the patient’s rights to the extent allowed by state law.
The hospice must:
- Ensure that all alleged violations involving mistreatment, neglect, or verbal, mental, sexual, and physical abuse, including injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of patient property by anyone furnishing services on behalf of the hospice, are reported immediately by hospice employees and contracted staff to the hospice administrator;
- Immediately investigate all alleged violations involving anyone furnishing services on behalf of the hospice and immediately take action to prevent further potential violations while the alleged violation is being verified. Investigations and/or documentation of all alleged violations must be conducted in accordance with established procedures;
- Take appropriate corrective action in accordance with state law if the alleged violation is verified by the hospice administration or an outside body having jurisdiction, such as the State survey agency or local law enforcement agency; and
- Ensure that verified violations are reported to State and local bodies having jurisdiction (including to the State survey and certification agency) within 5 working days of becoming aware of the violation.
Standard: Rights of the patient.
The patient has a right to the following:
- Receive effective pain management and symptom control from the hospice for conditions related to the terminal illness;
- Be involved in developing his or her hospice plan of care;
- Refuse care or treatment;
- Choose his or her attending physician;
- Have a confidential clinical record. Access to or release of patient information and clinical records is permitted in accordance with 45 CFR parts 160 and 164.
- Be free from mistreatment, neglect, or verbal, mental, sexual, and physical abuse, including injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of patient property;
- Receive information about the services covered under the hospice benefit;
- Receive information about the scope of services that the hospice will provide and specific limitations on those services.