Patient Rights and Responsibilities

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

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston Hospital

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Hughes Spalding Hospital

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite Hospital

Patients and patient families at Children’s have the right to respect, privacy, emotional support, confidentiality and security of information that supports you and your family. You and your family have the right to have fair and respectful access to the resources of the hospitals 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 and explanations to patients and/or parents or legal guardians for any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that may be necessary for a patient’s care.
  • Patients and/or parents or legal guardians have the right to receive visitors of their choice, including a spouse, a domestic partner (including a 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 our patients’, parents’ or legal guardians’ preferences. Parents and/or legal guardians have the right to have their 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 their child’s care, treatment and services while at Children’s. 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 after your child’s discharge
    • Ethical issues about your child’s care
    • The financial impact of care choices

Patients and patient families 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 accommodations 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 their attending physician or designee in attendance while your child is hospitalized.
  • Request additions to your child’s medical record.
  • Report patient safety concerns or complaints to The Joint Commission (TJC) at, using the “Report a Patient Safety Event” link in the “Action Center” on the homepage of the website, faxing to 630-792-5636 or mailing to Office of Quality and Patient Safety, The Joint Commission, One Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.
  • 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.

Patients and patient families have the responsibility to:

  • Provide accurate, complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications 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 to 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 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.

As a patient at Children’s, you have the right to:

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

Patients and patient families should expect:

  • Personal privacy to be respected to the fullest extent, consistent with the care prescribed.
  • Privacy with regard to protected health information.
  • Personal hygiene and grooming support to be provided.
  • Personal values and belief systems to be respected.
  • Reasonable safety insofar as the hospital practice and conditions are concerned.
  • Access to people 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 time frame and only to you or to those persons to whom you grant written permission or who are permitted by law.
  • An itemized copy of the hospital bill to be provided upon request.

The course of treatment to be adapted to the patient’s specific needs and limitations.

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

If patients or patient families need help making difficult decisions about care, you may contact the Children’s Bioethics Committee, which is made up of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and hospital administrators. Ask your child’s nurse for more information.