A doctor talking to a family. Understanding the 10 patient rights parents need to know about will help keep your child safe when you visit a healthcare facility.

Becoming aware of your rights when visiting a healthcare facility is empowering and can help you have a better experience. All clinics and hospitals should provide you with a list of patient rights upon request. Oftentimes, this is paperwork people barely glance at because they have a lot on their minds. Understanding the 10 patient rights parents need to know about will keep you and your child safer when visiting a medical facility.

Understanding your rights is critical in situations where you feel like you are not being listened to, or even have a disagreement with your physician. Reading over and understanding your rights will give you guidance on what to do if problems or conflicts arise during your visit.

Why It’s Important To Understand Your Rights In A Healthcare Setting:

  • To make informed decisions about your children’s care. Parents have the right to know about their children’s diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options. They also have the right to ask questions and get clarification until they understand everything. This information is essential for you to be able to make informed decisions about your children’s care.
  • To protect your children from abuse or neglect. Parents and their children have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. You also have the right to refuse treatment or to switch healthcare providers. Understanding your rights can help you protect your children in a clinical setting.
  • To advocate for yourself and kids. Children have the right to have a family member present during their care. Parents also have the right to file a complaint if they are unhappy with their care. Understanding your rights can help you advocate for your children.
A doctor talks to a mother.

10 Patient Rights Parents Need to Know About

The right to be treated with respect

This means that you and your child should be treated respectfully without prejudice based on race, religion, culture, economic status, educational level, disability, or age. At no time should a patient or family member be harassed, abused, or belittled. If you feel like your right to be respected has been violated, it’s time to speak up! Directly addressing your caregiver is usually the best place to start. If you are unable to do this, many healthcare systems have a patient concerns line you can call.

The Right to Privacy

Hospitals and clinics are places where privacy issues arise. This doesn’t mean that privacy is unobtainable. You should always speak up if you feel this right was violated. Communicate with your caregivers to maintain as much privacy as possible. Staff should always knock before entering rooms, and provide the maximum privacy available for the current situation.

The Right to Confidentiality

Your confidentiality should always be observed with any care you are receiving. Heath records should only be viewed on a need-to-know basis. There are federally mandated rules called HIPPA laws that all healthcare facilities are required to follow. If you feel like your right to confidentiality has been compromised, you should report it.

The Right To Express Concerns

If you have a concern about the care your child is receiving, you have a right to question and speak up about problems without fear of retaliation. All clinics should have a number or a designated person you can report to if you feel like your concerns have not been addressed in an appropriate manner.

The Right to Receive Education In an Understandable Way

Medical professionals often slip into terminology that the average person is unfamiliar with. You have a right to be taught information in a way that is easy to understand. Accommodations should be made for circumstances where disabilities create barriers to comprehension.

The Right to Participate in Decision Making

You have a right to participate and contribute to the plan of care for your child. Your voice should always count and matter whether making big or small decisions about your child’s care.

The Right To Access Your Child’s Medical Records in a Timely Manner

You have the right to access the medical records of your child. With current technology, this is more convenient than ever before. Most clinics and hospitals should have records that are protected and easily accessible.

The Right to A Second Opinion

You have a right to ask for a second opinion when obtaining care for your child. Getting a second opinion can be very helpful in a situation where you are not confident with the first assessment. A second opinion can also be helpful when you are unsure of an important decision you need to make regarding your child’s care.

Right to Informed Consent

The right to informed consent means that you have a right to be given adequate information so that you understand the risks and benefits of a course of treatment, before agreeing to it.

The Right to Refuse Treatment

If you come to an impasse where you don’t believe a suggested intervention is the best choice for your child, you have a right to refuse treatment. Knowing your rights is the first step to having a productive doctor appointment. If your rights aren’t respected at the doctor’s office, it’s time to find a new physician!

A doctor listens to a young child.

What To Do If Your Patient Right’s Are Not Being Respect

Understanding your patient rights is important for everyone. But it is especially important for children who are vulnerable or who have complex medical conditions.

Here are a few tips for talking to your healthcare provider about your child’s patient rights:

  • Be direct. Tell your healthcare provider that your family’s rights have not been respected.
  • Be specific. Explain the situation and which specific rights have not been aknowledged.
  • Be prepared. Before you talk to your healthcare provider, do some research on your patient rights. This will help you ask informed questions and understand the answers. Know who to talk to if your Healthcare provider is not listening to you.

Who To Talk to if Your Doctor is Not Responsive

  1. Ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. If you’ve talked to your healthcare provider directly and you’re still not satisfied, you can ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. They may be able to help you to resolve the issue or to get you referred to a different healthcare provider.
  2. Talk to a patient advocate or a compliance officer. These are individuals whose job it is to listen to patient problems and concerns.
  3. File a complaint with your state medical board. If you feel that your healthcare provider has violated your rights or has provided you with substandard care, you can file a complaint with your state medical board. The medical board will investigate your complaint and may take disciplinary action against your healthcare provider if necessary.

Final Thoughts

This may see like dull information, but it’s important to know so that you can advocate for yourself and your family. Be sure to ask for and read over your patient rights so you know what to do when problems come up.

Have you ever had a bad experience with your patient rights not being respected? Comment below!

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