Your Rights and Obligations

Every individual should be given impartial access to treatment or available lodging or appropriate medical and personal care based on individual needs, without considering his/her race, religion, gender, national origin or social class.

You have the right to receive respectful treatment from providers of health care AT ALL TIMES and UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

You have a right to privacy with respect to your person and to information, such as:

The right to refuse to speak to, or to see someone, including visitors and persons officially related to the hospital, but not involved directly in your treatment.

The right to be examined in installations designed to ensure privacy, visual and auditory isolation. This includes the right to request that a person of the same sex be present during certain parts of a medical examination or during treatment or procedures done by a professional of the opposite sex, as well as, the right not to remain exposed for more than is necessary for carrying out the procedure for which you were requested to undress.

The right to expect such privacy during toileting or bathing and other activities of personal hygiene, except as needed for patient safety or assistance.

The right to expect that every consultation or mention of your case is made discreetly and that there are no people present who are not directly involved in your treatment, without your consent.

The right to have your medical file read only by those directly involved in your treatment or those who supervise its quality, and by other persons only with your prior written authorization or that of your legal representative.

The right to expect that all communication and records pertaining to your treatment, including the provision for payment, is treated confidentially

To be protected from mental, sexual and physical abuse or the intentional and non-therapeutic infliction of physical pain or injury, or any persistent course of conduct intended to produce mental or emotional distress.

You shall be free from non-therapeutic chemical and physical restraints, except in fully documented emergencies, or as authorized in writing after examination by a patient’s physician/authorized officer for a specified and limited period of time, and only when necessary to protect you from self-injury or injuring others.

You have the right to know the identity and the professional position of the individuals who are providing you with services, as well as the right to know which physician or health professional is principally in charge of your treatment. Included here is your right to know whether there is some professional relationship among the individuals treating you, as well as the relationship to other health or educational institutions involved in your treatment.

You have the right to receive from the professional responsible for the coordination of your care, the complete current information on your diagnosis, treatment alternatives, risks and prognosis. That information should be communicated to you in such a way that you can be expected to understand. When it is not considered medically advisable to give this information to you, that information will be made available to an authorized individual.

You have the right to know the investigations conducted, the results of these investigations as well as have them explained.

You have the right to access people other than hospital personnel, through visitors and through oral and written communication.

When you do not speak or understand the predominant language of the community, you should have access to an interpreter. This is of particular importance when those language barriers affect your treatment/care plan.

You can expect your health facility to display information on the Patient’s Charter.

You have the right to be informed about and to participate in the decisions related to your health and treatment. Whenever possible, this should be based on a clear and concise explanation of your condition and of all the implicit technical procedures, including the possibilities of any risk of death or serious reactions and of problems related to your recovery and a satisfactory outcome.

You should not be subjected to any procedure without your voluntary, informed consent, or that of your legally authorized representative. When there are medical alternatives for your treatment you should be informed at all times.

You have the right to know who is responsible for authorizing and carrying out the procedures or the treatment.

Your participation in clinical training programmes for the purpose of obtaining information, or for the purpose of research should be by informed consent.

You should be informed of the aims, methods anticipated, benefits and potential risks of any research study that would affect your health or treatment and any discomfort it may entail. In addition, you have the right to refuse to participate in such activities.

Under petition and at your own expense, you have the right to consult with a specialist and get from him/her a second opinion on a major diagnostic or therapeutic procedure proposed.

You can refuse treatment. When the refusal of treatment by you or your legally authorized representative interferes with the provision of adequate treatment according to professional standards, the relationship with you may be terminated with reasonable prior advance notice.

You have the right to refuse treatment or care from a provider who you believe is intoxicated or under the influence of other substance.

You have the right to file a complaint when you consider your right infringed. You also have the right to have this complaint investigated by the designated officer and the results communicated to you within ten (10) days.

You have the right to access the contents of your records, providing you will not keep any hard copy of it.

You have the right to participate in the planning of your health care.

The right includes the opportunity to discuss treatment and alternatives with individual care givers and participate in formal case conferences. You have the right to include a family member or other chosen representative in such conferences.

You have the right to receive information about the services your General Practitioner (private physician) provides.

You shall receive medication in well-labeled containers and given clear instructions.

You are responsible for providing according to your best understanding, precise and complete information on your current complaints, previous diseases, hospitalizations, drugs, and other matters related to your health.

You have the responsibility to report any unexpected change in your condition to the responsible professional.

You are also responsible for reporting whether you understand clearly the course of action contemplated and what is expected of you.

You are responsible for following the plan of treatment recommended by the professional mainly responsible for your care. This can include following the instructions of nurses and other personnel associated with your care.

You are responsible for keeping your appointments and, when this is impossible for any reason, for notifying the responsible health facility professional.

Your are responsible for communicating whether or not you understand the course of action to be undertaken in treatment.

You are responsible for your actions, if you refuse to receive treatment or follow the instructions of the practitioner.

You are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and the personnel of the health facility.

You/your significant other are responsible for helping to control noise, and the number of visitors.

You are responsible for respecting the property of other persons and of the hospital, health centre or nursing home.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of Health Website


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