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Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Riverview Regional Medical Center endeavors to respect the rights of each patient, to recognize that each patient is an individual with unique health care needs, and to provide considerate, respectful care focused upon the patient’s individual needs. The following reflects patient rights and responsibilities as we join in a partnership with you to provide excellent patient care.

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Patients have the right to:

  • Reasonable access to care, treatment or service and that his/her rights are respected and supported.
  • Care that is considerate and respectful of personal values, beliefs and preferences. Express spiritual beliefs and cultural practices, as long as they do not harm others or interfere with treatment and request pastoral counseling.
  • Be informed about and participate in all decisions regarding care
  • Consent for or refusal of treatment to the extent permitted by law, after a clear explanation of risks, benefits, and alternative treatments has been provided.
  • Make decisions about Advance Directives or Living Will
  • Make decisions about research projects or clinical trials.
  • Make decisions or be informed about restriction of visitors, mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication.
  • The appropriate assessment and management of pain and participation in development of pain management plan.
  • Medicare patients have a right to appeal a premature discharge. These rights will be provided in “Important Notice from Medicare” document to patients at admission and prior to discharge.
  • Request a discharge planning evaluation and that discharge planning evaluation will be conducted by hospital personnel.
  • Security and safety, personal privacy, and confidentiality of information. Patient information is limited to those individuals designated by law, regulation, and policy or duly authorized as having a need to know or granting of permission by patient.
  • Exercise rights through a legally authorized person identified as your “Healthcare Representative” or “Healthcare Proxy”.
  • Right to have a Support Person of choice without discrimination present to provide emotional support during the stay. (See Statement on Patient Visitation Rights)
  • Access to or information on protective services, guardianship or advocacy services.
  • Participate in ethical questions that arise in the course of care including issues of conflict resolution, withholding of resuscitative services, foregoing or withdrawing life sustaining treatments, care at end of life, and participation in investigational studies or clinical trials
  • Seek a second opinion or consult a specialist at patient’s own request and expense.
  • Have a family member or his/her own physician notified of admission to the hospital.
  • Effective communication to include translation or interpreter services and audiovisual aids when necessary at no cost to the patient or family member. Right to receive information in a manner you can understand.
  • The identity of those providing care to the patient.
  • Review of and access to the medical record within a reasonable time frame.
  • Information on hospital affiliation with other providers or interests.
  • Freedom from the use of seclusion or restraints of any form unless clinically necessary or for patient safety
  • Freedom from physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual, or psychological abuse, neglect or corporal punishment.
  • Clearly presented and understood medical information regarding patient’s condition, diagnosis and treatment.
  • To be informed, when appropriate, about the outcomes of care, including unanticipated outcomes.
  • Voice concerns to hospital or medical staff without fear of reprisal or discrimination.

Concerns/complaints or grievances regarding patient rights, care or safety can be reported at any time to a caregiver for immediate resolution. If resolution is not achieved, patient may report his/her concerns to the Patient Advocate by calling 256-543-5281 in the hospital, the Alabama Department of Public Health Hotline at 800-596-9596, the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation at 800-366-1486, or The Joint Commission at 800-994-6610 or by emailing Written complaints can be mailed to: Patient Advocate/Grievance Committee, Riverview Regional Medical Center, 600 South Third Street, Gadsden, Alabama 35901 or the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, Two Perimeter Park S. Suite 200 West, Birmingham, Alabama 35243-2237. Patient will be informed of the outcome or resolution within seven days of complaint. Serious complaints or those related to abuse or neglect will receive immediate attention. You have the assurance that your future access to and quality of care will not be affected. You may file a complaint with outside agencies whether or not you utilize the hospital’s grievance process.

This medical center recognizes the inherent rights of patients to appropriate information to permit them to make judgments regarding their own care. The patient should understand, however, that the nature, content and scope of information supplied by the patient’s physician rest in the sound professional judgment and discretion of the physician. Recognizing the above stated rights, the patient has a corresponding responsibility to bring to the attention of the appropriate person(s) in the Medical Center those occasions when in the patient’s opinion, these rights are not being respected. It then becomes the responsibility of the Medical Center to see to it that the effective mechanisms exist to take corrective action when necessary.

Patients have the responsibility to:

  • Provide (past and current) complete, accurate and timely medical and insurance information.
  • Take responsibility for his/her health care.
  • Participate effectively in decision-making as it relates to his/her health care.
  • Ask questions and accept consequences for not following instructions, the treatment plan or leaving the hospital against the advice of your physician. Discuss with healthcare team any obstacles in complying with prescribed plan of treatment.
  • Communicate changes in health and/or condition to your caregiver.
  • Show consideration of other patients and health care providers.
  • Respect and follow all hospital rules affecting patient conduct and care including infection control practices.
  • Pay your medical bills promptly.
  • Participate in discharge planning process.
  • Keep follow up appointments after hospital discharge.
  • Inform and abide by visitation rules.
  • Alert caregivers of those persons who will be participating in care including support person and/or healthcare representative or proxy.
  • Provide a copy of any legal documentation such as Advanced Directives, Living Will or Power of Attorney, and/or guardianship.
  • Alert caregiver or Patient Advocate of any complaints regarding care, service or safety.
  • Refrain from the use of tobacco products, alcohol, unauthorized drugs or medication, and weapons of any kind. These items are not permitted on hospital grounds.

Riverview Regional Medical Center policies and procedures which involve patients and associates are developed to ensure the dignity of the patient and the preservation of the patient’s rights. A copy of these rights is provided to patient at admission for review and signature. Further provisions of rights are included in the Patient Handbook.

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Riverview Regional Medical Center embraces a philosophy of open and flexible visitation that welcomes and encourages the involvement of family and significant others in the patient’s care. Accordingly, the Hospital has adopted this Statement on Patient Visitation Rights:

  1. Patients may receive visitors of their choosing, including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend.
  2. Patients may refuse to consent to a person visiting them, or may withdraw consent to see a visitor at any time.
  3. The Hospital will ensure that all visitors have full and equal visitation privileges consistent with patient preferences. The Hospital will not restrict, limit, or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
  4. Patients may designate a “Support Person” to exercise their visitation rights on their behalf. Patients may designate a Support Person in any manner, including orally, in writing, or through non-verbal communications (such as pointing).
  5. The Hospital can apply reasonable clinical restrictions and other limitations on patient visitation. Reasonable restrictions may be based upon, but are not limited solely to, any of the following:
    1. a court order limiting or restraining contact;
    2. a visitor’s behavior presenting a direct risk or threat to the patient, hospital staff, or others in the immediate environment;
    3. visitor behavior that is disruptive to the functioning of the patient care unit involved;
    4. the patient’s risk of infection by the visitor;
    5. the visitor’s risk of infection by the patient;
    6. a patient’s need for privacy or rest;
    7. the need for privacy or rest by another patient in the patient’s shared room;
    8. any special restriction rules that apply to special patient care units
    9. when visitation would otherwise interfere with the care of the patient and/or the care of other patients.

Visiting Rules 

  1. The visiting hours within the hospital are 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Visitors should check at the nurses’ station to remain after 9:00 pm. Visitors should sign in at the main entrance. Doors at the front entrance are locked after 9:00 pm and visitors should enter through the Emergency Department.
  2. To ensure safety, children are not to be left unattended on the premises.
  3. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to visit in patient rooms without special permission of the Nursing Supervisor or Director of Nursing.
  4. All visitors should abide by posted infection control instructions before entering a patient room. All visitors are encouraged to wash hands before and after visiting.
  5. Smoking is not allowed within the hospital or on hospital grounds. Visitors not abiding by this policy will be asked to leave the facility.
  6. To promote patient health, visitors should check with nurse before bringing in food or snacks to patients.

Specific Departmental Rules

  1. Surgery – Visitors will be directed to the Surgical Waiting Area. Visitors will be updated on progress of surgery and physician conference by pagers and telephone.
  2. Heart and Vascular Center – Visitors will be directed to the waiting area while patient is preparing for and in procedure. Visitors will be advised when patient returns to room and procedures for overnight. Hours and contact numbers are posted on the entrance door.
  3. Critical care – Visitors will be advised of visiting schedule. Variations to the schedule will be at the discretion of the nursing staff and physicians based on patient condition. Visitors will be directed to the waiting areas outside of the ICU and CCU/IVU units. Two overnight visitors per patient are allowed to remain overnight. Sleeper/recliner chairs may not be reserved. No personal blankets, pillow, etc. may be brought from home. Linen will be provided by staff in the evening and collected in the morning. No personal food should be left in the waiting area. No appliances will be allowed.
  4. Overnight visitors should anticipate being awakened during patient care or physician visits. Sleeper chairs and linens should be put away in the morning to facilitate access to patient care.
  5. Emergency Department – Each patient will be allowed two visitors in the examination area as appropriate based on patient care needs. Other visitors will be directed to the waiting area. No children are allowed in examination area.
  6. Medical units – One visitor over the age of 18 may remain overnight in a private patient room. Sleeper chairs are available. Semi-private rooms will not accommodate overnight visitors.
  7. Endoscopy/Radiology/Lab – Patients are encouraged to limit visitors to one person if possible.

Do not bring large sums of money, jewelry, or other valuables for your stay in the hospital. A small amount of cash may be necessary for items from the gift shop or vending machines. Riverview Regional Medical Center cannot be responsible for replacement of personal belongings unless locked in the hospital safe. A personal safe is located in each patient room for storage of small items. Items such as hearing aids, dentures, glasses, etc. should be labeled and stored in the containers provided by your caregiver or sent home with your family members.

Enhanced communication methods including interpreter services, TTY telephones, and picture boards are available throughout the hospital. Please alert your caregiver for arrangements.