Introduction: With healthcare quality and safety gaining importance, concept of patient’s rights and responsibilities is becoming imperative to ensure ethical service provision. This study evaluates patient’s awareness about their rights and responsibilities.
Methods: The study was done in a 112-bed NABH accredited multi-specialty hospital of Mumbai during May-July’ 2015. Admitted patients were interviewed through a 25-item questionnaire comprising 15 questions on awareness about rights and 9 questions on awareness of responsibilities. 1 question was asked about ‘source of information’ for rights and responsibilities.
162 patients consented to participate and were included (age range: 20-79 years; 53% males). In regard to rights, highest awareness was observed for ‘requesting communication in a suitable language’ (99%), ‘asking doctor about requisite information’ (94%), ‘knowing name of illness’ (91%), ‘choosing a doctor’ (80%), and ‘second opinion consultation’ (85%). Only 50% knew that they can ‘participate in treatment decisions’, 51% demanded ‘complete information regarding surgery’ and 55% were aware that that they have a ‘right to access their clinical records’. 49% signed the consent forms without reading it. Awareness regarding responsibilities was >95% for all factors like ‘abide by rules’, ‘pay for medical services’, ‘giving complete medical history’ and ‘inform doctor for complications’.
Patient empowerment begins with awareness of rights. As awareness for rights was low for some of the major factors like participating in treatment process, signing consent without proper information, patient education needs overemphasis. With the crusade for ethics gaining momentum, hospital must focus on empowering patients through increasing awareness about their rights.
Thursday, May 11, 2017