Patient Rights and Responsibilities

If you have questions or concerns regarding your hospitalization, please speak with your nurse. Each nursing unit also has a nurse manager who is available to assist you. For additional assistance, you can contact the Patient Advocate Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, or call 732-499-6136. In the evenings or on weekends, ask the operator to connect you to the Clinical Administrative Coordinator.

Every New Jersey hospital patient shall have the following rights, none of which shall be abridged by the hospital or any of its staff. The hospital administrator shall be responsible for developing and implementing policies to protect patient rights and to respond to questions and grievances pertaining to patient rights. These rights shall include at least the following:

  • To receive the care and health services that the hospital is required by law to provide.
  • 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 receive an understandable 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 specified, non-emergency 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 after possible consequences of this decision have been explained clearly to you, unless the situation is life threatening or the procedure is required by law. To be included in experimental research only if you give informed, written consent. You have the right to refuse to participate. To be informed of the names and functions of all health care professionals providing you with personal care.
  • To receive, upon request, the hospital's written policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life support mechanisms.
  • 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 providers.
  • 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 receive, upon request, the hospital’s written policies and procedures regarding life-saving methods and the use or withdrawal of life support mechanisms.
  • 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 any possible violation of your rights.
  • To have prompt access to the information in your medical record. If your physician feels that this 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 to the hospital.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 plans.
  • To be transferred to another facility only when you or your family has made the request or in instances where the transferring hospital is unable to provide you with the care you need.
  • To receive an advance explanation from a physician of the reasons for your transfer and possible alternatives.

You have the Right:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Patient Responsibilities
RWJ Rahway strives to ensure that all patients are provided with comprehensive, quality and cost effective health care services. In order to do this most effectively and to maximize your involvement and participation in the health care process, we ask that you adhere to the patient responsibilities that follow.

It is your responsibility as a patient to:

  1. Provide accurate information about your past and present medical history, including all medications that you are taking.
  2. Know the physician in charge of your care and the people on your health care team.
  3. Actively participate in your plan of care decisions and include your family/significant other to help provide for your discharge needs.
  4. Ask questions about your medications, diagnostic test results and anything you do not understand.
  5. Be considerate of other patients' needs for rest, quiet and privacy.
  6. Follow hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.
  7. Provide complete and accurate information necessary for processing your hospital bill.
  8. Be responsible for items on your bill not covered by insurance.
  9. Respect hospital property as well as the private property of other patients and hospital personnel. Hospital property should not be removed from the hospital premises.
  10. Inform physicians, nurses and other medical personnel if you have any concerns regarding your care.
  11. In our educational resources, RWJ Rahway strives to be culturally, religiously, and spiritually sensitive to all people who access our health care and education. If we can be more sensitive in our materials, please forward your comments to the Patient Advocate Office, (732) 499-6136.

Special Needs

Patients and family members who are deaf/hearing impaired or blind/sight impaired, or who have any other disabilities, are encouraged to ask for special assistance. Please notify a nurse who will make necessary arrangements.

To present questions, complaints or grievances to a designated hospital staff member and to receive a response in a reasonable period of time. The hospital must provide you with the address and telephone number of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services that handles questions and complaints. You may directly contact the NJ Department of Health Complaint Hotline at (800) 792-9770 or write to:

NJ Department of Health and Senior Services
Health Care Quality and Oversight
P.O. Box 358
Trenton, NJ 08625

The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission conducts periodic accreditation surveys at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway.

The purpose of these surveys is to evaluate the organization’s compliance with nationally established Joint Commission standards. The survey results will be used to determine whether, and the conditions under which, accreditation should be awarded to the hospital.

If any individual has any concerns about patient care and safety in the hospital he or she is encouraged to contact the hospital’s Patient Advocate at (732) 499-6136.

If the concerns cannot be resolved through hospital management, the individual may contact The Joint Commission to report concerns by visiting their web site at using the Report A Patient Safety Event link in the “action center”; or writing:

The Joint Commission Office of Quality and Safety
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

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