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Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Georgia College & State University
Student Health Services
Policy Manual

Rights and Responsibilities of Patients/Clients

Policy:  Georgia College Health Services Staff are obligated to establish a climate of care that helps allay anxiety and establishes and encourages open and honest communication. Any discussion with a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, technician, counselor, or other health care professional can be valuable to the client in terms of both health and learning.  Clients are encouraged to take an active part in the exchange.  If they do not feel that their concerns are being addressed or that their questions are being answered, they are encouraged to tell their clinician or restate their specific needs.  


Rights and Expectations

a)  Dignity:  The client has a right to have their dignity as an individual recognized and respected.  They have a right to the same considerations and respect as anyone else, regardless of their age, race, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, and lifestyle.

b)  Privacy:  The client has a right to privacy whenever and wherever possible.  They should expect that their discussion, examination and treatment would be conducted in a private environment and that medical information be maintained in accordance with accepted medical records privacy and security guidelines.

 c)  Confidentiality:  The client has a right to confidential treatment of all communications and records relating to them.  Permission must be obtained before Student Health Center staff gives information to anyone not directly connected with the client’s case.  This requirement applies to parents, relatives, close friends, and college/university personnel.  There are limited exceptions required by law, such as reporting certain communicable/infectious diseases, parental or guardian permission to treat minors (under age 18), or situations which threaten the client’s safety or the safety of others.

 d)  Access:  The client has a right to access and utilize Health Services, but with this right comes the responsibility to understand the scope and range of available services and make appropriate use of these services and related provider time.  The client has a right to have reasonable access to information regarding diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.

 e)  Provider Change:  The client has a right to change providers. The Health Services has a right to assign clients to providers based on patient demand and staff availability.

 Responsibilities:  As a consumer of a Health Services, the client has responsibilities as well as rights.  The client can help by being responsible in the following ways:

a)  By Being Honest: The client is responsible for being honest and direct about everything that relates to his/her needs for Student Health Centers.  The client needs to tell those who are helping him/her how they feel about the things that are happening to them.

b)  By Making Sure They Understand:  The client is responsible for the understanding of their health problems or needs to their satisfaction.  If they do not understand the treatment plan, test procedure, or patient education information, they should ask the interviewer or practitioner about it.  The client needs to be sure they understand -- ask questions!

c)  By Making Appropriate Use of Services and Staff Time:  The client has a responsibility to understand the scope and range of available services and make appropriate use of these services and related provider time. 

d)  By Following the Prescribed Plan:  It is the client’s responsibility to advise the Health Services staff trying to help them, whether or not they can and want to follow the prescribed plan.  If the client is in agreement with the plan, they need to follow it.  If they are not in agreement with the plan, they should be encouraged to talk to their health care provider about their concerns.

e)  By Reporting Changes:  It is the client’s responsibility to tell the Health Services staff about any changes in their health in relationship to the treatment provided.

f)  By Keeping Your Appointment:  It is the client’s responsibility to keep appointments at the scheduled time, or notify the Health Services staff if they cannot keep or will be late for an appointment.

g)  By Knowing Your Interviewer or Practitioner:  The client should try to know or remember the name of the personnel who serve them.  The Health Services staff will try to make this an easy task by introducing themselves and wearing nametags.  The client is encouraged to make a note of this, either mentally or on paper.  The client’s health is a shared responsibility with the Health Services staff.

 g)  By Being a Participant: It is the client’s responsibility to become an active participant in decisions regarding his/her own care.

 A patient’s health depends on much more than the health care they receive. Patients are responsible for recognizing the impact of their lifestyle on their personal health.


 AL/March 2013

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