Often times people find it difficult navigating the rigors and stress that comes with a hospital environment, the wait and the unending forms and vitals etc. that you have to go through just to see a doctor. In this article, we discuss 11 things you probably don’t know about patient’s rights and responsibilities in Nigeria.
These patients’ rights are all contained in a Patient’s Bill of Right in Nigeria, a document prepared by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
Patients’ rights and awareness
First things first. We sampled people’s opinion on twitter via our twitter handle about the awareness to patients’ rights in a health facility and this is what we came up with;
Firstly, It can be deduced from the poll above that 64 percent of the public do not know their rights. That’s serious if you ask me. As a result, we went ahead to make a podcast episode on 11 things you probably don’t know about patients’ rights. You can Listen to it here
Secondly, you should have a copy of the patients’ bill of rights when you are at a health facility. I’ll share a copy of it at the end of this post. Now on to 11 things you probably don’t know about patient’s rights and responsibilities in Nigeria.
Access to Information
To have access to all relevant information in a language that the patient understands, including complete and accurate information about diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, other procedures and possible outcomes.
To fully participate in implementing the treatment plan and making decisions.
Patient Related Information
Rights include access to records, including explicit information about range and scope of services available.
Patients should also be able to access to record of the identity, skills and credentials of treating professionals and care providers published by the Federal/State Ministry of Health or other relevant authorities.
Fee Related Information
Full disclosure of cost or estimation of recommended treatment plan services.
Transparent and itemized billing.
Privacy and confidentiality of all information and medical records unless disclosure is vital and in the interest of
public health in accordance with prevailing law.
Quality Of Care
Access to clean, safe and secure healthcare environment. Access to equitable quality care and caregivers, irrespective of disability.
Patients should be treated with respect and dignity, irrespective of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, allegation of crimes, geographical location, disability or socioeconomic circumstances.
That prior wishes of the patient or in the absence of same, of the next of kin (where legally applicable) are respected to the fullest extent practicable during last offices (at the time of death) including cultural or religious preferences, to the extent consistent with extant laws including coroners laws.
Access to Emergency Care
Receive urgent, immediate and suffcient intervention and care in the event of an emergency, prioritizing such needed attention over other factors including cost and payment, as well as law enforcement requirements.
Receive visitors including for religious purposes according to the rules and
regulations of the facility.
Patient’s Refusal of Care
Patients at all times, retain the control of their person and must be informed of their power to decline care upon full disclosure of the consequences of such decisions.
Patients have the right to consent or decline participation in medical research, experimental procedures or clinical trials in the course of treatment.
Interruption of Service by the Provider
To be informed about impending interruption or disengagement of services of primary or attending professionals responsible for patient’s care.
Methodical and practical transition of treatment for patients’ safety and continuity of care.
To express dissatisfaction regarding service and/or provider including personnel changes and abuse.
This is just an overview of the complete patient bill of rights available from the CPC. You must know too, that as you have rights, you also have Responsibilities and the Provider’s Responsibilities to you as a patient. Download the patients’ bill of rights here
Remember, with more knowledge comes more responsibility. Be reasonable.
Here are some of the patients’ responsibilities
Aside from the eleven (11) things you should know about patients’ rights, patients should also know the following responsibilities:
- Treat all hospital staff with respect and dignity
- To faithfully undergo the AGREED treatment
- Follow the health worker’s instructions diligently
- Take necessary preventive measures in case of infectious disease according to doctor’s instructions
- Be aware that health workers would endeavor to always act in their best interests. However, being human beings, are susceptible to occasional mistakes and lapses
- Should be aware that ALL procedures and treatment modalities carry varying levels of risk for which health workers are not liable
- Make payment for the treatment, wherever applicable, to the hospital promptly
- Respect the competence of the health workers to make professional decisions on patients’ care
- Be punctual at clinics/hospitals for treatment at the given time
- To preserve all the records of their illness
- Keep the Hospital Management informed if change of doctors/hospital is desirable/desired.