Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Providing you with high quality care is our utmost concern and Westerly Hospital’s staff does everything in their power to ensure you receive it.

Should you feel that we have not respected your rights, please ask for clarification from a staff member on your care team, the manager of your unit or service, or Patient Relations by calling 860-442-0711, extension 5032.

This Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is adapted from the Patient Care Partnership of the American Hospital Association. You will be informed of your rights upon admission, during pre-admission testing, when you meet your attending staff, and through visitation from the Patient Relations/Volunteer Patient liaisons.

These rights and responsibilities are also posted throughout the hospital in patient care areas (inpatient and outpatient), printed in the Patient Handbook and in brochures, and available through the Patient Relations Office in English and Spanish.


  1. Your Rights as a Patient

Westerly Hospital is proud of the high quality patient care we provide to our patients, and our staff is dedicated to continuing that tradition. It’s also part of our Values Statement as we understand the importance of respecting patient rights.

You and your representative have the right to:

  • Considerate and respectful care.
  • An interpreter.
  • Have a family member or representative, and your own physician notified when you are admitted to the hospital. Also, you have the right to receive visitors that you have designated unless their presence infringes on others’ rights, safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated. You may also withdraw consent for a person to visit. Your designated support person may be a spouse or domestic partner of the same or different sex, a friend or family member. A support person may make this designation on your behalf, if appropriate.
  • Information concerning your care is delivered in a manner that you can reasonably understand. This includes facts about your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and the name of the doctor responsible for coordinating your care.
  • Information necessary for you to give informed consent prior to any procedure or treatment including the name(s) of the doctor(s) performing any procedure or treatment.
  • Receive information about pain management, including identifying symptoms. As health care professionals and concerned staff, we are committed to pain prevention and management and want to respond quickly to your reports of pain and related symptoms.
  • Refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of such refusal.
  • Formulate Advance Directives and have hospital staff and practitioners who provide care in the hospital comply with your directives. You or your health care agent have the right to refer and participate in the ethical discussions of your medical care with the Ethics Committee. You may exercise this right by requesting assistance from your physician or nurse.
  • Privacy and confidentiality concerning your medical care program.
  • Receive treatment without discrimination as to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or source of payment for care.
  • Be free from restraints and seclusion. Restraints are used only when clinically necessary, and only after other, less restrictive alternatives are tried. Our staff does not use restraints or seclusion for convenience or discipline.
  • Expect that all communication and records pertaining to your care are treated as confidential to the extent permitted by law.
  • Open access to your medical records.
  • Expect that the hospital, within its capacity, recognizes and responds to individual needs, disabilities and preferences, including those based on ethnic, spiritual, linguistic, family and cultural factors.
  • Complain without fear of reprisal about care and services you are receiving, and have the hospital respond to you in writing. You may file a com­plaint or grievance regarding your experience with the hospital at any time with any staff member, department/unit manager or the Patient Relations office at (860) 442-0711, extension 5032. Patient Relations office hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. You also have the right to bring your grievance to the Rhode Island Department of Health Office of Facilities Regulation, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908, or by calling 401-222-2566, TTY: 711; or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations by going to their website:; or via email at; by writing: Office of Quality Monitoring, Joint Commission on Healthcare Organizations, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 or by calling 1-800-994-6610.
  • Obtain information regarding the relationship(s) of this hospital to any other health care and educational institutions, and among any individuals treating you, insofar as your care is concerned.
  • Be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in human experimentation affecting your care or treatment and the right to refuse participation in such projects.
  • Expect reasonable continuity of care and to be informed of your health care requirements following discharge.
  • Examine and receive an explanation of your bill, regardless of source of payment.
  • Know what hospital rules and regulations apply to your conduct as a patient.
  1. Your Responsibilities as a Patient/Patient Representative

Along with your rights come responsibilities. As a patient, you are expected to honor the following responsibilities in order to share partnership with your health care team in restoring your health:

  • Provide a copy and/or information about prior hospitalizations and past illnesses, as well as any advanced directives such as power of attorney and living will. Also provide a list of the medications you are currently taking (including over-the-counter and herbal therapies), and any other matters relating to your health.
  • Cooperate with staff caring for you. Help doctors, nurses and other health professionals in their efforts to restore you to health by their  following instructions and asking questions when you do not understand.
  • Tell your doctors and nurses if you are experiencing pain or related pain symptoms. Ask for pain relief when your pain first begins. Let your doctor or nurse know if your pain does not go away after you have had treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse about any worries you have about taking pain medication.
  • If you would like a visit from your clergy or a hospital chaplain, it is important you state your religious preference upon admission. You can also request a visit anytime during your hospital stay.
  • Be considerate of other patients and make sure your guests are considerate as well, particularly in regard to noise, number of visitors and allowing children to roam freely.
  • Be respectful of others and their property, and be respectful of hospital property.
  • Abide by hospital rules and regulations, and ask your visitors to do likewise.
  • Take reasonable measures to protect your belongings and cooperate with hospital personnel providing such protection.
  • Be responsible for your decisions and related outcomes if you choose to refuse treatment or not follow your practitioner’s instructions.
  • Keep appointments or call the hospital when you must postpone them.
  • Inform the hospital as soon as possible if you believe our systems need improvement or your rights may have been violated.
  • Be prompt in your payment of hospital bills by providing the insurance information necessary for processing and asking questions you may have concerning your bill.
  • After you have left the hospital, be sure to maintain the treatment recommended by your doctor and  notify him or her of any changes in your condition.