Your Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient you have the following rights (under state law and regulations):

undefinedMedical Care

  • To receive the care and health services that the hospital is required by law to provide.

  • To receive a clear explanation from your physician of your complete medical condition, recommended treatment, expected results, risks involved, and reasonable medical alternatives. If your physician believes that some of this information would be detrimental to your health or beyond your ability to understand, the explanation must be given to your next of kin or guardian.

  • To give informed, written consent prior to the start of most medical procedures or treatments. Your physician should explain to you in words you understand, specific details about the recommended procedure or treatment, any risks involved, time required for recovery, and any reasonable medical alternatives.

  • To refuse medication and treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of this act.

  • To be included in experimental research only if you give informed, written consent. You have the right to refuse

Communication and Information

  • To be informed of the names and functions of all health care professionals providing you with personal care.

  • To receive, as soon as possible, the services of a translator or interpreter if you need one to help you communicate with the hospital’s health care personnel.

  • To be informed of the names and functions of any outside health care and educational institutions involved in your treatment. You may refuse to allow their participation.

  • To be informed, upon request, of the hospital’s written policies regarding life saving and life support practices.

  • To be advised in writing of the hospital’s rules regarding the conduct of patients and visitors.

  • To receive a summary of your patient rights that includes the name and phone number of the hospital staff member to whom you can ask questions or complain about a possible violation of your rights.

Medical Records

  • To have prompt access to the information in your medical record. If your physician feels that the access is detrimental to your health, your next of kin or guardian has a right to see your record.

  • To obtain a copy of your medical record, at a reasonable fee, within 30 days after a written request of the hospital.

Personal Needs

  • To be treated with courtesy, consideration, and respect for your dignity and individuality.

  • To have access to storage space in your room for private use. The hospital must also have a system to safeguard your personal property.

Cost of Hospitalized Care

  • To receive a copy of the hospital payment rates. If you request an itemized bill, the hospital must provide one, and explain any questions you may have. You have a right to appeal any charges.

  • To be informed by the hospital if part of or your entire bill will not be covered by insurance. The hospital is required to help you obtain any public assistance and private health care benefits to which you may be entitled.

Discharge Planning

  • To receive information and assistance from your attending physician and other health care providers if you need to arrange for continuing health care after your discharge from the hospital.

  • To receive sufficient time before discharge to arrange for continuing health care needs.

  • To be informed by the hospital about any appeal process to which you are entitled by law if you disagree with the hospital’s discharge plan.

Freedom from Abuse and Restraints

  • To freedom from physical and mental abuse.

  • To freedom from restraints, unless they are authorized by a physician for a limited period of time to protect the safety of you or others.

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • To have physical privacy during medical treatment and personal hygiene functions, unless you need assistance.

  • To confidential treatment of information about you. Information in your records will not be released to anyone outside the hospital without your approval, unless it is required by law.

Pain Management

  • To receive information about pain and pain relief measures

  • To receive care from a concerned staff committed to pain prevention and management

  • To receive care from health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain

  • To receive state-of-the-art pain management

Legal Rights

  • To treatment and medical services without discrimination based on age, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment.

  • To exercise all your constitutional, civil, and legal rights.

  • To contract directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of your choosing for private professional nursing care during your hospitalization.

Questions and Complaints

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the patient relations department at 609.584.6550. For your convenience, a listing of patient rights is located on the wall of your room as well as other locations throughout the hospital.

The hospital must provide you with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of government agencies that handle questions and complaints, including the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Complaints Hotline, 800.792.9770.

Your Rights as a Minor, Child or Adolescent

An Emancipated Minor
An emancipated minor is defined as a minor living on his or her own, is self supporting and not subject to parental control. An emancipated minor who is a patient at RWJ Hamilton has the right to make health decisions. A pregnant minor is considered an emancipated minor; no parental permission is required for treatment.

Mature Minor
A mature minor may be a participant in health care decisions when a physician determines that minor is able to understand the risks, benefits and alternatives to a proposed treatment.


As a minor who is a patient at RWJ Hamilton you have the following rights to confidentiality:

To speak privately with members of the health care team and to expect confidential treatment of the information provided whether you are a child or an adolescent unless this would be detrimental to your health.

To be treated for venereal disease, and drug and alcohol problems without parental knowledge. Your parents and/or legal guardians have the legal right to make decisions on your behalf except as listed above. Whether you exercise your rights yourself or your parents and/or legal guardians exercise them on your behalf, all the rights listed above and those included in” New Jersey Hospital Patient Rights” posted in your room apply to you while you are a patient at RWJ Hamilton.


As a patient, you or your health care decision maker have the following responsibilities:

Provision of Information

  • To provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health. You have the responsibility to report unexpected changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner. As a patient you are responsible for reporting whether you understand a contemplated course of medical action and what is expected of you.

Communication of Concerns

  • To report dissatisfaction with the quality of care or service provided.

Compliance with Instructions

  • To follow the treatment plan recommended by the practitioner primarily responsible for your care. This may include: following the instructions of nurses and allied health personnel as they carry out the coordinated plan of care, implement the responsible practitioner’s orders, and enforce the applicable hospital rules and regulations.

  • To keep appointments and, when you are unable to do so for any reason, for notifying the responsible practitioner or the hospital.

Refusal of Treatment

  • To be accountable for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the practitioner’s instructions.

Hospital Rules and Regulations

  • To follow rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.

  • To have all your valuables taken home by family or friends or to deposit them in the hospital safe. The hospital is not responsible for lost money, valuables or property.

  • To follow the no smoking regulations.

Respect and Consideration

  • To be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and for assisting in the control of noise and the number of visitors. Either you or your decision maker has the responsibility for being respectful of the property of other persons and of the hospital. Verbally abusive language and verbally disruptive conduct are not acceptable, and if it continues after a request to stop, you or your visitor(s) will be asked to leave the hospital grounds or be escorted from the premises by Security or Law Enforcement. Threatening or inappropriate behavior toward other patients, staff or visitors will not be tolerated.

Patient Stories

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Patient Stories

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