Patient Advice, Rights and Responsibilities

The patient and various health professionals are involved in the medical act. Each of them has their rights, duties and responsibilities. Read on and find out what they are.

Last update: 02 October, 2022

During the provision of health services, it is not only the doctors, nurses or other professionals involved who are governed by a series of regulations. There are also some rights, duties and responsibilities of the patient that must be taken into account.

It is understood that, at certain times, the state of mind and attitude of the sick person may be conditioned by the disease. However, while they are in full use of their physical and mental faculties, patients must provide all possible collaboration, with a view to restoring their health.

Patient Rights

Both international organizations and governments of some nations have determined a series of rights that the person should enjoy when going to a health care center. In other cases, the institutions also provide rules in this regard.

to be attended

Among the rights of the patient, when he goes to a health center or a medical consultation, the first is to be treated. Especially in emergency situations.

Now, in public health institutions this is a universal right. However, in the private ones there are some conditions to provide the services, since they imply a cost.

However, whatever the nature of the institution, there can be no discrimination to care for a patient. It is unfeasible that there are biases based on aspects such as race or skin color, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

To receive a quality service

The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that the patient has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. This means that the service provided by the institutions must ensure that maximum efforts are made and the care provided must not be undermined.

A quality service would imply the following:

  • The greatest possible effort by the staff.
  • The use of all available resources, be it equipment or medication.
  • Attention and care in environments that guarantee optimal sanitary conditions.
Urgencies and emergencies imply particular conditions that make the rights of patients more evident.

to get a good deal

The patient has the right to receive good treatment, both from the medical staff and from nurses, assistants and other people involved. This includes punctuality, courtesy, empathy, respect and friendliness.

to be heard

People are very different: some are talkative, while others are introverted. In the doctor’s office, some may need to talk a lot, in great detail.

In part, this also makes them feel a little better, being taken into account and involved with their treatment, even encouraging doctor-patient interaction. Whether blood, urine, or imaging tests are to be performed, the patient must be heard.

It is even the right and responsibility of the patient express disagreements about the care received, if any. And your concerns must be addressed by the staff of the institution.

To receive all the information

The patient must know everything concerning his disease. The doctor, in turn, should clarify the doubts. In this sense, he is advised to explain in simple and accessible language, avoiding excessive technicalities.

Likewise, the patient must know about the various treatment and care options that he has to maintain. Information cannot be hidden from him, even in extremely serious cases.

To decide about your treatment

Given the various options, the patient must participate in the decision regarding their treatment, based on cost, duration, recovery, and prognosis. You have the right to opt out of treatment, even though this is a difficult topic to discuss from a medical and legal point of view.

The patient or his relatives, in case he is not aware or is not legally capable, must sign a consent, accepting that the risks are known. You cannot be coerced into this process.

to privacy

The patient has the right to personal privacy, specifically in what corresponds to the confidentiality of your clinical information. It should not be disclosed by any means.



Patient Duties and Responsibilities

When going to a doctor’s office or entering a hospital for treatment, we may be thinking more about what health professionals are going to do. However, in addition to the rights, there are patient responsibilities too.

Provide and request all the information

On the one hand, the patient you have a duty to report the symptoms you have experienced, as well as everything he has done that may be useful to the doctor. It is very important that this information is provided completely and truthfully, without misrepresenting anything or omitting details.

This also implies giving additional explanations about health history, previous treatments, medications you are taking or have taken, as well as allergies.

On the other hand, You must state if you have understood what the diagnosis is, what the disease or treatment consists of, what the risks would be, among others. If you have doubts, you should request that they be clarified.

Be respectful

It is both a right and a responsibility of the patient who attends a health center, that the medical act takes place within the framework of mutual respect. The patient must treat the personnel of the health institution in a cordial and respectful manner., whether they are doctors, nurses, assistants or assistants; as well as others who are in consultation or hospitalized.

Comply with regulations

Institutional regulations, likewise, refer to both the rights and responsibilities of patients. About, everyone must respect the rules regarding noise, no smoking or the number of visitors allowed. This includes meeting financial obligations.

follow the treatment

The patient must listen, value and respect the doctor’s instructions, following the treatment and informing in the event that it cannot be fulfilled or that it causes any reaction. Just as it is a right, it is a patient’s responsibility to follow all the recommendations aimed at restoring health:

  • Feeding.
  • Exercise.
  • Do not self-medicate.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
Complying with the doctor’s prescriptions is a duty. It is assumed that the professional has indicated the most pertinent treatment.

attend checkups

Regular and punctual attendance to check-ups and you have to prepare for medical appointments, complying with what is required. This can be fasting or bringing previous tests, for example.



Good relationship and good service are rights and responsibilities of the patient

It could be said that, to a large extent, the restoration of health depends both on the skills and knowledge of the health personnel and on the good relationship doctor-patient. In this order of ideas, communication between both components of this binomial is fundamental.

But even more relevant is to understand that, just as it happens in the relationship of a couple, communicating requires a conducive and adequate state of mind. The health professional must not forget that he is with a human being. Acknowledging that he is dealing not only with his pain, but with his fear and doubt is part of what will make him understand.

In short, a good attitude on the part of the patient and their relatives, as well as the doctor and other staff members of the health institution, can make a big difference.

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