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Avera Sacred Heart Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Patient

At Avera Sacred Heart Hospital we want you to have the best possible physical, spiritual care, and emotional support, during your stay with us.  We want you to know what your rights and responsibilities are, and we encourage you to talk openly with those involved in your care.  After leaving the hospital, if you have a question or feel a situation is unresolved and are unsure where to turn, please call our business office at 605-668-8109, where your question will be answered, or directed to the appropriate party, so that you may receive information in a manner you understand.

Your Rights


    • To have impartial access to those medical resources of the hospital indicated for your care without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or ability to pay.
    • To have visitors of your choosing without restriction based upon the visitor’s race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
    • To expect your personal privacy to be respected to the fullest extent consistent with the care prescribed for you.
    • To expect all communications and other records pertaining to your care, including the source of payment for treatment, to be kept confidential, unless you have directed otherwise.
    • To determine who may visit you.
    • To expect reasonable safety insofar as the hospital practices and environment are concerned.
    • To know by name the physician nurses and staff members responsible for your care.
    • To discuss with your primary physician your diagnosis, the treatment prescribed for you, the prognosis of your illness, and any instructions required for follow-up care.
    • To have appropriate assessment and management of pain.
    • State-of-the-art pain management.
    • To know the reasons you are given various tests and treatments.
    • To know the general nature, risk and benefits, of any procedure for which you have given your consent.
    • To refuse to participate in medical training programs and research projects.
    • To change your mind about any procedure for which you have given your consent
    • To refuse to sign a consent form if you feel everything has not been explained to your satisfaction.
    • To refuse treatment and to be informed by your physician of the medical consequences of this action.
    • To request a consultation or second opinion from another physician.
    • To change physicians.
    • To change hospitals.
    • To examine your hospital bill and to receive an explanation of it.
    • To have access to the Guide to Patient Services during your stay in the hospital.
    • To be free from neglect, exploitation, and verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse.
    • To be informed of your health status.
    • To be involved in care planning and treatment.
    • To request or refuse treatment.
    • To formulate advance directives.
    • To have practitioners and staff provide care that is consistent with your advance directives.
    • To have a family member or representative and your own physician, notified promptly upon your admission to the hospital.

      Your Responsibilities


        • To know and to follow rules and regulations.
        • To give cooperation and to follow the care prescribed or recommended for you by your physician, nurses, or allied health personnel.
        • To provide your caretakers with accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, and other matters relating to your health.
        • To ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and pain management.
        • To discuss pain relief options with your doctor and nurse.
        • To work with your care givers to develop a pain management plan.
        • To ask for pain relief when pain first begins.
        • To help your caregivers assess your pain.
        • To tell your caregivers if your pain is not relieved.
        • To tell your caregivers about any concerns you have about taking pain medication.
        • To accept the consequences for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the instructions of your caregivers.
        • To notify your physician or nurse if you do not understand your diagnosis, treatment or prognosis.
        • To let your nurse and your family know if you feel you are receiving too many visitors.
        • To respect the privacy of your roommate.
        • To accept the financial obligations associated with your care and to fulfill them as promptly as possible.
        • To advise your nurse, physician, or any staff member of any dissatisfaction you may have in regard to your care at the hospital.
        • To be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and to assist in the control of noise and the number of visitors you receive.


          How to Prevent Falls

          Everyone tries to be careful to avoid falls, but when you are sick or injured you may be more prone to accidental injury from falls.

          Because of the increased risk of falling when you are sick, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital has developed a program designed to reduce the risk of injury while you or your loved one is here.

          Our efforts can be successful only if our patients and their support system, if available, become our partners in this fall prevention program.

          Special Precautions

          When you or your loved one was admitted to the hospital, a nurse asked some questions to help determine if there were steps that would be helpful to prevent falls.  If these questions indicate a high risk for falls, a plan to prevent falls was developed for you or your loved one.  A red sign was placed on the door to alert all staff to your safety needs.  Staff will be stopping in and checking you or your loved one periodically throughout the day and night as to any need you may have.  This might be a drink of water or to go to the bathroom.

          How to Promote Your Own Safety

            • Use your call button to ask for help getting out of bed if you feel unsteady.
            • Ask for help going to the bathroom or walking around the room or in hallways.
            • Wear non-slip socks or footwear.
            • Lower the height of the bed and the side rails.
            • Talk to your doctor if your medicine makes you sleepy, light-headed, sluggish or confused.  Ask how to reduce these side effects or if you can take another medicine.

              Use of Side Rails

              In the past, hospitals have been able to place the four (4) side rails in the up position as a means of providing patient safety.  For many years, side rails have been viewed as a restraint in Nursing Homes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS formerly known as HCFA).

              CMS now views the use of side rails in hospitals as a protective restraint too.  The reason for this is that there are documented cases of worse injury from falls (including deaths) when patients have gone over the top of raised rails or have gotten trapped in the rails or between the rails and mattress.

              Protective Restraints

              Occasionally, a protective restraint may be necessary to prevent injury to you or your loved one.  Safety devices such as vests, belts, wrist ties and side rails are used only when other alternatives have not been successful in maintaining patient’s safety.

              The following information is offered to help you understand the use of these devices:

                • The health care staff determines that a restraint is necessary to ensure patient safety.  Restraints are used under the supervision of these trained staff members.
                • The staff may contact your family if need for restraint is indicated.  They will be given the option to sit with you.
                • A physician will be contacted regarding staff concerns and a written order for restraints will be obtained.
                • The staff will frequently reevaluate your condition or that of your loved one and continued need for safety devices.
                • The staff will routinely check to see that you or your loved one is comfortable and that his or her needs are met.  If you have any questions about the use of protective devices, please do not hesitate to talk to the nursing staff.


                  Avera Sacred Heart Hospital wishes to promote open communication regarding your hospital experience.  We encourage you to call the respective Department Director at 605-668-8000 or call the Compliance Officer at 605-668-8312 to ask questions or to voice concerns or complaints.  Should you have a concern that is unresolved, you have the right to contact:

                  South Dakota Department of Health

                  600 E Capitol Avenue

                  Pierre, SD  57501



                  Joint Commission

                  One Renaissance Boulevard

                  Oakbrook Terrace, IL  60181