Patient and Parent Rights and Responsibilities

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is committed to providing quality care as promptly and courteously as possible. It is important to us that you and your family members feel welcome at Children’s. You should know your child’s rights as a patient and your rights and responsibilities as a parent. If you have any questions about these rights and responsibilities, contact a patient representative at:

  • Egleston hospital
    404-785-6163
  • Hughes Spalding hospital
    404-345-4815
  • Scottish Rite hospital
    404-785-5194

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Your Legal Rights

You have the right to respect, privacy, emotional support and confidentiality and security of information that supports you as a family. You have the right to have fair and respectful access to the resources of the hospital(s) and facilities necessary for your child’s care without regard to age, race, color, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or in the case of emergency treatment, source of payment.

  • The Children’s staff will provide reasons/explanations to the patient and/or parent/legal guardian for any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that may be necessary for the patient’s care.
  • Patients and/or parents/legal guardians have the right to receive visitors of their choice, including a spouse, a domestic partner (including same-sex domestic partner), another family member or a friend. Parents, patients and legal guardians also have the right to withdraw or deny consent at any time.
  • Visitation privileges are not restricted on the basis of race, color, culture, language, religion, sex, gender identity, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation or expression.
  • All visitors have full and equal visitation rights consistent with the patient/parent/legal guardian preference. You have the right to have your child’s own physician promptly notified of admission to the hospital and to be informed of the physician(s) or other practitioner(s) that have primary responsibility for your child’s care, treatment, and services while at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. You are encouraged to talk openly with your child’s doctor, in a language you understand and with consideration for any speech and/or hearing impairment, regarding:
    • Your child’s diagnosis and prescribed treatment
    • Why treatments and tests are done and who does them
    • Your child’s illness
    • Your wish for a consultation or second opinion from another doctor
    • The need to transfer your child to another facility and be told the alternatives to a transfer
    • Your wish to change doctors and/or hospitals 
    • Instructions for ongoing medical needs and requirements following your child’s discharge
    • Ethical issues about your child’s care
    • The financial impact of care choices

You also have the right to:

  • Receive an explanation of all papers you are asked to sign.
  • Change your mind about any procedure for which you have given consent.
  • Refuse to sign a consent form you do not fully understand.
  • Refuse treatment and be informed of the medical results of this action.
  • Refuse to participate in research projects.
  • Receive information and instructions in ways that are understandable to you.
  • Receive information about how to access security and child protective services.
  • Have acommodations made for your religious preference or spiritual services.
  • Take steps to resolve grievances (complaints) by contacting the patient representatives who review and respond in writing when needed.
  • Have your child be free from restraints and seclusion in any form when used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience for the staff or retaliation.
  • Be free from all forms of abuse and/or harassment.
  • Have your child’s pain assessed and reduced as much as possible with pain management efforts.
  • Review your child’s medical record with his or her attending physician or designee in attendance while your child is hospitalized.
  • Request additions to your child’s medical record.
  • Contact The Joint Commission (TJC) by phone at 800-994-6610 or by email at complaint@jointcommission.org or send a letter to the Joint Commission Office of Quality and Monitoring, 1 Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, at any time regarding your child’s care.
  • Contact the Department of Community Health (DCH) at 404-657-5700 or send a letter to the DCH, Healthcare Facility Regulation at 2 Peachtree St. NW, Suite 32-415, Atlanta, GA 30303, at any time regarding your child’s care.

Playing Your Part

You and your child have the responsibility to:

  • Provide accurate, complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medicines and other matters related to your child’s health that facilitate their care, treatment and services.
  • Produce, upon request, documentation of the right to consent for your child’s admission and treatment.
  • Ask for an explanation if you do not understand papers you are asked to sign or anything related to your child’s care.
  • Follow the care prescribed or recommended for your child by the doctors, nurses and other allied healthcare personnel and remember you are responsible for actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow instructions.
  • Report unexpected changes in your child’s condition to the responsible caregiver.
  • Follow the policies, rules and regulations of the hospital, patient care unit(s) and clinic that are in place to support quality care and a safe environment for all individuals.
  • Keep appointments and call to cancel or change an appointment as soon as possible.
  • Respect the rights and privacy of others.
  • Support mutual consideration and respect by maintaining civil language and conduct in interactions with staff and licensed independent practitioners.
  • Meet the financial responsibilities associated with your child’s care.
  • Call Children’s at 404-785-5589 if you have any questions about your bill.

Child Rights

As a patient at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, I have a right:

  1. To be told the truth about what is happening to me.
  2. To have the doctors, nurses and other healthcare people recognize that I cope and react differently than grown-ups.
  3. To cry or object to anything that hurts or upsets me.
  4. To be treated with courtesy and respect for me and my feelings.
  5. To have my basic needs met and to be clean, dry, comfortable and free of physical restrictions and restraining movement, whenever possible, and that if it is necessary to restrain movement, it will not be used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience for the staff or retaliation.
  6. To be reassured that I did not do anything wrong to be sick.
  7. To have all questions answered in words I can understand.
  8. To make choices whenever possible, so long as they don’t interfere with my medical care.
  9. To have my bed be a safe place, if at all possible, from hurtful things.
  10. To have the doctors, nurses and other healthcare people tell me ahead of time what they will do to me before they do it, unless I know what is happening, and to have people talk to me rather than whispering about me over my bed or out in the halls.
  11. To have the staff listen to me, because I have important things to say.
  12. To have initial and regular assessments and management of my pain.
  13. To know the names of doctors, nurses and other healthcare people who take care of me and know they respect my privacy.
  14. To have my daily routine stay as normal as possible and to sleep without interruptions whenever possible, to have quiet times during the day, to have school time provided, to play when I am able and to talk to my friends when they call or visit.
  15. To have my family members with me whenever they can stay, so long as it does not get in the way of my care or the care of other patients.
  16. To have a careful evaluation, followed by polite and prompt treatment, while being given the choice to  watch certain procedures, if possible.
  17. To know my illness is between me, my family and the people caring for me and that it is the business of no one else, unless I say to tell them.
  18. To leave the hospital as soon as possible after those taking care of me teach me how I can be healthy at home.

Adult Patient Rights

Adult patients (18 years of age or older) have the right to consent to, alter or refuse treatment and create an advanced directive (a document that expresses the patient’s wishes about care in the event that he becomes unable to communicate). You will receive information about advanced directives on admission, and you may request it at any time during your hospital visit.

Partners in Care

You and/or your child should expect:

  • Personal privacy to be respected to the fullest extent, consistent with the care prescribed
  • Privacy with regard to protected health information
  • To receive personal hygiene and grooming support
  • Personal values and belief systems to be respected
  • Reasonable safety insofar as the hospital practice and conditions are concerned
  • Access to people from outside the hospital
  • Records pertaining to care, including the source of payment, to be kept confidential
  • Access to records to be granted within a reasonable timeframe and only to you or to those persons to whom you grant written permission or who are permitted by law
  • To receive an itemized copy of the hospital bill upon request
  • The course of treatment to be adapted to your specific needs and limitations

Difficult Treatment Decisions

If you need help with difficult decisions about the care of a patient, you may contact the Children’s Bioethics Committee, which is made up of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and hospital administrators. Just ask your child’s nurse.