Patient Safety

Indian River Medical Center has concern for the basic and personal dignity of all patients and reinforces the rights of every patient to receive considerate and respectful care. Any patient, patient representative, parent or guardian who feels a patient has not received proper consideration is encouraged to discuss the situation with the physician, nurse or nurse manager/department director, house supervisor, or any member of administration.

  • Speak Up – Your Role in Safe Healthcare

    Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe – physicians, nurses, technicians, environmental services and you. You play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of our healthcare team.

    The “Speak Up” program, sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, urges patients to get involved in their care. This initiative provides simple advice on how you can make your stay a positive experience. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their healthcare are more likely to have better outcomes.

    • Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
    • Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medication by the right healthcare professionals.
    • Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.
    • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
    • Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
    • Use hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, or other type of healthcare organizations that have undergone rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (Joint Commission).
    • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.
  • Privacy Notice
  • Patient Rights

    These rights can be exercised on the patient’s behalf by a personal representative, designated surrogate or proxy decision maker if the patient lacks decision-making capacity, is legally incompetent, or is a minor.

    1. The patient has the right to considerate and respectful care.
    2. The patient has the right to interpretation services if needed for effective communication.
    3. The patient has the right to effective communication as necessary to meet patient needs, including assistance with language, vision, speech, or hearing.
    4. The patient has the right to a prompt and reasonable response to a question or request.
    5. The patient has the right to retain and use personal clothing or belongings as space permits and unless there are safety or privacy restrictions.
    6. The patient has the right to and is encouraged to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current, and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
    7. Except in emergencies when the patient lacks decision-making capacity and the need for treatment is urgent, the patient is entitled to an informed consent and the opportunity to discuss and request information related to the specific procedures and/or treatments, the risks involved, the possible length of recuperation, and the medically reasonable alternatives and their accompanying risks and benefits.
    8. The patient has the right to know the identity of physicians, nurses, and others involved in their care, as well as when those involved are students, residents, or other trainees. The patient has the right to refuse to allow students in clinical training programs to participate in the patient’s care.
    9. The patient has the right to request that a family member/friend/support person and a physician be notified promptly when the patient is admitted as an inpatient to the hospital.
    10. The patient has the right to participate in their plan of care (inpatient, outpatient, discharge, and pain management plans) prior to and during the course of treatment and to refuse a recommended treatment or plan of care to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy, and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action. In case of such refusal, the patient is entitled to other appropriate care and services that the hospital provides or transfer the patient to another hospital. The hospital should notify patients of any policy that might affect patient choice within the institution. The patient has the right to ask for a second opinion.
    11. The patient has the right to an initial assessment and regular reassessment of pain. The patient has the right to receive education regarding pain management as well as potential limitations and side effects of pain treatments. The hospital will take into consideration your cultural, spiritual, and/or ethical beliefs that pain management is an important part of your health care.
    12. The patient has the right to refuse to talk with or see anyone not officially connected with the hospital.
    13. The patient has the right to have an advance directive (such as a living will, healthcare proxy, or durable power of attorney for healthcare) concerning treatment or to designate a surrogate decision maker with the expectation that the hospital will honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy. Health-care institutions must advise patients of their rights under state law and hospital policy to make informed medical choices, ask if the patient has an advance directive, and include that information in patient records. The patient has the right to timely information about hospital policy that may limit its ability to implement fully a legally valid advance directive. The hospital will strive to comply with the patient’s wishes consistent with state and federal laws. Examples when a patient’s advance directive will not be followed by the hospital and physician include: if it is not completed according to Florida law; if the patient does not inform us there is an advance directive or the patient does not let us know the patient’s wishes; the type of treatment the patient does not want is unclear; certain situations according to Florida law when a surrogate or proxy cannot decline (i.e. abortion, sterilization, experimental and some psychiatric treatments); the patient condition is not specified in the advance directive.
    14. The patient has the right to have a support person (whom you designate) present as a visitor, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The support person may be, but is not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend. The patient also has the right to withdraw or deny your consent to visitation at any time. The hospital shall not restrict, limit, or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. In the event the patient is unable to designate who can visit, the person designated as “support person” can make that designation. The hospital may impose a justified clinical restriction on visitation rights to provide safe care to you or other patients. Examples of a justified clinical restriction include, but are not limited to: a court order limiting or restraining contact; a patient in custody of law enforcement with legal restrictions; behavior presenting a direct risk or threat to the patient, hospital staff, or others in the immediate environment; behavior disruptive to the functioning of the unit; reasonable limitations on the number of visitors at any one time; patient’s risk of infection by the visitor; visitor’s risk of infection by the patient; substance abuse treatment protocols requiring restricted visitation; pandemic or infectious disease outbreak; patient’s need for privacy or rest; need for privacy or rest by another individual in the patient’s shared room; when patient is undergoing a clinical intervention or procedure.
    15. The patient has the right to every consideration of privacy. Case discussion, consultation, examination, and treatment should be conducted so as to protect each patient’s privacy. The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his/her care will be treated as confidential by the hospital, except in cases such as suspected abuse and public health hazards when reporting is permitted or required by law. The patient has the right to expect that the hospital will emphasize the confidentiality of this information when it releases it to any other parties entitled to review information in these records.
    16. The patient has the right to review the records pertaining to his/her medical care and to have the information explained or interpreted as necessary, except when restricted by law.
    17. The patient has the right to expect that, within its capacity and policies, a hospital will make reasonable response to the request of a patient for appropriate and medically indicated care and services. The hospital must provide evaluation, service, and/or referral as indicated by the urgency of the case. When medically appropriate and legally permissible, or when a patient has so requested, a patient may be transferred to another facility. The institution to which the patient is to be transferred must first have accepted the patient for transfer. The patient must also have the benefit of complete information and explanation concerning the need for risks, benefits, and alternatives to such a transfer.
    18. The patient has the right to ask and be informed of the existence of business relationships among the hospital, educational institutions, other healthcare providers, or payers that may influence the patient’s treatment and care.
    19. The patient has the right to consent to or decline to participate in proposed research studies or human experimentation affecting care and treatment or requiring direct patient involvement, and to have those studies fully explained prior to consent. A patient who declines to participate in research or experimentation is entitled to the most effective care that the hospital can otherwise provide.
    20. The patient has the right to expect reasonable continuity of care when appropriate and to be informed by physicians and other caregivers of available and realistic patient care options when hospital care is no longer appropriate.
    21. The patient has the right to be informed of hospital policies and practices that relate to patient care, treatment, and responsibilities. The patient has the right to be informed of available resources for resolving disputes, grievances, and conflicts, such as ethics commit- tees, patient representatives, or other mechanisms available in the institution.
    22. The patient has the right to be informed of the hospital’s charges for services, available payment methods, and to receive counseling on resources to help patients pay for health care. The patient also has the right to know the immediate and long-term financial implications of treatment choices, insofar as they are known. If the patient is eligible for Medicare, the patient has the right to know, upon request and in advance of treatment, whether the health care provider or the hospital accepts the Medicare assignment rate. The patient has the right to receive, upon request, prior to treatment, a reasonable estimate of charges for medical care. The patient is entitled to receive a copy of a reasonably clear and understandable itemized bill and, if the patient requests, have the charges explained.
    23. The patient has the right to access advocacy or protective service agencies and the right to be free from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The patient has the right to be free from restraints or seclusion of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
    24. The patient has the right to refuse to participate in any recordings or other images made for purposes other than your care.

    Patients have a right to inform licensing and/or accrediting agencies of their concerns.

    These include:

    Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
    2727 Mahan Drive
    Tallahassee, FL 32310
    Phone: 1.888.419.3456

    If the concern involves a physician’s actions:

    AHCA, Medical Quality Assurance, Consumer Services Office
    2727 Mahan Drive
    Tallahassee, FL 32310
    Phone: 1.850.414.7209

    A toll free complaint line is available to check the status of complaints at 1.888.419.3456.

    The Joint Commission
    One Renaissance Blvd
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    Phone: 1.800.994.6610

    To contact the IRMC Patient Experience Department:

    Indian River Medical Center
    Patient Experience Department
    1000 36th Street
    Vero Beach, FL 32960
    Phone: 772.567.4311, ext. 1041

    Download Spanish Version of Patient Bill of Rights

  • Patient Responsibilities

    The collaborative nature of healthcare requires that patients, or their families/surrogates, participate in their care. The effectiveness of care and patient satisfaction with the course of treatment depends, in part, on the patient fulfilling certain responsibilities. Patients are responsible for following hospital rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct.

    Patients are responsible for providing information about past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters related to health status. To participate effectively in decision making, patients must be encouraged to take responsibility for requesting additional information or clarification about their health status or treatment when they do not fully understand information and instructions. The patient is responsible for reporting unexpected changes in condition and communicating any concerns about treatment, care, environment, or other issues that may impact patient care, hospitalization, or recovery.

    Patients are also responsible for ensuring that the healthcare institution has a copy of their written advance directive if they have one. Patients are responsible for informing their physicians and other caregivers if they anticipate problems in following prescribed treatment.

    Patients should also be aware of the hospital’s obligation to be reasonably efficient and equitable in providing care to other patients and the community. The hospital’s rules and regulations are designed to help the hospital meet this obligation.

    Patients and their families are responsible for making reasonable accommodations to the needs of the hospital, other patients, medical staff, and hospital employees.
    Patients are responsible for providing necessary information for insurance claims and for working with the hospital to make payment arrangements, when necessary. Patients are responsible for assuring that their financial obligations are fulfilled as promptly as possible.

    Patients are responsible for following their care plan and keeping their follow up appointments. If the patient is unable and/or unwilling to follow the care plan, then the patient is responsible for telling the health care team. The health care team will explain the medical outcomes of not following their recommended treatment plan. The patient is responsible for the outcomes of not following the care plan.

    A person’s health depends on much more than health care services. Patients are responsible for recognizing the impact of their life-style on their personal health.

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