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New Patient/Client Bill of Rights & Responsibilities

Posted Jun 2nd, 2011

NIAGARA, ON: After getting feedback from more than 800 Niagara residents, Niagara Health is pleased to present a new Patient/Client Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. The new document incorporates both the complete elements of the original Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which 97 per cent of our respondents said they agreed with, as well as new elements captured through feedback. These additions include statements regarding timely care, communication and pain management. The new document is available online and will soon be posted at our seven sites.

Over the winter months, public consultation in English and French occurred through an online survey, interviews with inpatients, and focus group sessions with key partners. Of the 818 respondents who filled out the survey, 80 per cent stated they or a member of their family had been a Niagara Health patient in the last three years.

“After a general call to the public to get involved, we were very pleased to see such a high percentage of respondents with direct knowledge of our hospital system,” says Interim President and CEO Sue Matthews. “Their comments helped us to refresh the bill, to ensure it reflects the values that patients/clients and their families, along with staff, physicians, volunteers and community partners, identify as being important.”

One of the new statements provides specific information on where patients and family members can ask questions or raise concerns both during the hospital stay and after discharge. “Hospital environments are extremely complex and during a difficult family time, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open,” Sue says. “We’re anticipating that this extra information will help with that.”

People from all corners of Niagara and a few from outside the peninsula filled out the survey, with a good mix of urban and rural residents. The largest age group responding was the 45 to 54 group, at 31 per cent. Just over 82 per cent of the respondents were female.

“We plan to revisit the document once a year,” Sue says. “We need it to be a living document – one that all members of the healthcare team: hospital staff, physicians, patients/clients and their family members, look to as a way to ensure they play an active role in their plan of care.”


As a Patient/Client I have the right to:

  • Take an active role during my hospital care.
  • Receive care as quickly as possible.
  • Receive compassionate, professional and respectful care in a safe and clean environment free of discrimination and unnecessary restraints.
  • Privacy while in the hospital and confidentiality of my health information and record of care in accordance with the law.
  • Be kept informed in order to make decisions about my health care, including being advised if an error affecting my health has occurred.Give or refuse consent to any proposed care and to be advised of the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment being proposed. I have the right to designate an individual (substitute decision maker) to give consent for me if I am too ill to do so.
  • The appropriate assessment and management of pain.
  • Know the name and position of any care provider involved in my care.
  • Express my questions, concerns or complaints without fear of reprisal and expect the hospital staff or physician to provide a timely response.
  • While receiving care at the hospital I can speak to my care provider or request to speak to the person in charge of the department.
  • After discharge I can bring my questions, compliments or concerns forward to the Patient Relations Specialist by telephone (905-378-4647 ext 44423), email at, or in writing, and upon request can receive a written response to my concerns.

As a Patient/Client I have the responsibility to:

  • Provide accurate information relating to my medical and personal history including present and past illnesses, hospitalizations and medications.
  • Be actively involved in my plan of care and my discharge and to ask questions when I don’t understand or I require more information.
  • Accept the consequences of my actions should I refuse treatment or not follow the treatment plan.
  • Be courteous and respectful of other patients, visitors, staff and doctors and for assisting in the control of unnecessary noise and the number of visitors.
  • Comply with hospital policies affecting patient care and conduct including supporting the NHS’ smoke-free and fragrance-free environment.

Niagara Health System