Bill of Rights for Home Care Consumers
In 1993 the State Legislature adopted a bill of rights and responsibilities for home health care consumers. All New Hampshire-licensed providers are required to abide by these rights. In addition, Medicare-certified agencies must comply with additional rights set forth in federal regulations, and those agencies that are accredited by an external organization like the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) may have yet more requirements related to consumer rights that they adhere to. Following are the minimum state-required rights and responsibilities for home care consumers in New Hampshire.
Home Care Clients' Bill of Rights
- Home health care providers shall provide their clients with a written copy of the rights and responsibilities listed in paragraphs II and III of this section in advance of or during the initial evaluation visit and before initiation of care. These rights apply only to the services delivered by or on behalf of the home health care provider. If a client cannot read the statement of rights it shall be read to the client in a language such client understands. For a minor or a client needing assistance in understanding these rights, both the client and the parent or legal guardian or other responsible person shall be fully informed of these rights.
- The statement of rights shall state that at a minimum the client has a right to:
- Be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition of the client's dignity and individuality, including privacy in treatment and personal care and respect for personal property and including being informed of the name, licensure status, and staff position and employer of all persons with whom the client/resident has contact, pursuant to RSA 151:3-b.
- Receive appropriate and professional care without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or age, nor shall any such care be denied on account of the patient's sexual orientation.
- Participate in the development and periodic revision of the plan of care, and to be informed in advance of any changes to the plan.
- Be informed that care is evaluated through the provider's quality assurance program.
- Refuse treatment within the confines of the law and to be informed of the consequences of such action, and to be involved in experimental research only upon the client's voluntary written consent.
- Voice grievances and suggest changes in service or staff without fear of restraint, discrimination, or reprisal.
- Be free from emotional, psychological, sexual, and physical abuse and from exploitation by the home health care provider.
- Be free from chemical and physical restraints except as authorized in writing by a physician.
- Be ensured of confidential treatment of all information contained in the client's personal and clinical record, including the requirement of the client's written consent to release such information to anyone not otherwise authorized by law to receive it. Medical information contained in the client's record shall be deemed to be the client's property and the client has the right to a copy of such records upon request and at a reasonable cost.
- Be informed in advance of the charges for services, including payment for care expected from third parties and any charges the client will be expected to pay.
- The provider has the right to expect the client will:
- Give accurate and complete health information.
- Assist in creating and maintaining a safe home environment in which care will be delivered.
- Participate in developing and following the plan of care.
- Request information about anything that is not understood, and express concerns regarding services provided.
- Inform the provider when unable to keep an appointment for a home care visit.
- Inform the provider of the existence of, and any changes made to, advance directives.