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Patient Rights & Responsibilities

At Virginia Hospital Center, we pledge to treat each patient with dignity, respect and compassion. We recognize that all patients have fundamental rights. As early as possible in the care process, we will inform patients of their rights and are committed to honoring those rights throughout a patient’s stay at Virginia Hospital Center. Likewise, we have a right to expect reasonable and responsible behavior from patients, their families, representatives and friends.

During your stay we encourage you to ask questions, be proactive and take an active part in your care plan. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss them with your doctor or any staff member, or contact the Hospital's Patient Relations Department (703.558.6195) or Administrative Nursing Supervisor (703.558.5000).

The following summary of rights and responsibilities serves as the foundation for our partnership with you and your family (and/or representative) as we collaborate on your healthcare. Patient Rights and Responsibilities and additional useful information may be found in Virginia Hospital Center's Patient & Visitor Information Guide given to inpatients upon admission. Outpatients can request copies by calling 703.558.6195.

The Patient has the right:


  • To receive care in a safe setting
  • To be free from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect, exploitation, harassment or corporal punishment
  • To be free from restraint or seclusion, of any form, imposed as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience or retaliation by staff. (Restraint or seclusion may only be imposed to ensure the immediate physical safety of the patient, a staff member, or others and must be discontinued at the earliest possible time)
  • To safe implementation of restraint or seclusion by trained staff
  • To prompt resolution of complaints and grievances
  • To access protective and advocacy services
  • To be informed of unanticipated outcomes of her/his care

Respect and Dignity

  • To every consideration for her/his privacy
  • To the confidentiality of her/his identifiable health information
  • To receive visitors designated by the patient, including but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including same-sex domestic partner), another family member or a friend (this includes the patient's right to withdraw or deny such consent at any time)
  • To be informed of the Hospital's practice that allows for the presence of a support individual unless it interferes with the rights of others, or is not recommended for medical reasons
  • To respectful medical and nursing care that recognizes personal dignity, diversity and religious or other spiritual preference, and that is administered regardless of ability to pay
  • For patients with disabilities, to be accompanied by a designated support person, provided such designated support person complies with the Hospital’s reasonably necessary health and safety requirements 


  • To give informed consent prior to care and treatment, except for emergencies
  • To say "yes" or "no" to experimental treatments and to be advised when a physician is considering her/him to be part of a medical research or donor program
  • To appoint someone else to make decisions for her/him if she/he becomes unable to do so, and have that person approve or refuse care, treatment or services

Quality Care and Pain Management

  • To participate in the development and implementation of her/his plan of care
  • To have pain assessed and managed appropriately
  • To be told what she/he needs to know about her/his health condition upon Hospital discharge
  • To emergency care and procedures which are implemented without unnecessary delay
  • To receive care regardless of age, race, color, national origin, culture, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or manner of payment
  • To quality care from competent professionals
  • To care provided 24 hours/day, 7 days/week by credentialed medical professionals
  • To have a family member, representative of choice and physician be notified of her/his admission
  • To knowledgeably refuse any drugs, treatments or services
  • To ask for a change of provider or second opinion
  • To request that ethical issues related to her/his care be referred to the Bioethics Committee for discussion


  • To make advance directives (such as living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare) and have them followed (For more information on the Code of Virginia regulations on when advance directives do not apply and Virginia Hospital Center limitations, please see the Patient Rights section in the Virginia Hospital Center Patient & Visitor Information Guide which can be requested by calling 703.558.6112 or 703.558.6195)
  • To receive information in understandable terms concerning diagnosis, treatment and anticipated outcomes
  • To make informed decisions regarding care, including being informed of health status, being involved in care planning and treatment, and being able to request or refuse treatment
  • To know the names and professional titles of her/his caregivers
  • To know the rules regulating her/his care and conduct
  • To access information contained in her/his medical records within a reasonable time frame
  • To know that Virginia Hospital Center is a teaching hospital and that some caregivers may be in training
  • To ask caregivers if they are in training
  • To have her/his wishes followed concerning organ donation, when she/he makes such wishes known in accordance with law and regulations
  • To have bills explained and receive information about charges that she/he may be responsible for
  • To inquire about financial assistance in paying her/his Hospital bill and help in filing her/his insurance forms


  • To effective communication
  • To an interpreter and/or interpretive devices, for patient or patient representative, when English is not spoken or is not the patient's preferred language
  • To have access to sign language and oral interpreters, and assistive telecommunication devices, if needed

As a Patient at Virginia Hospital Center, you have the responsibility to:

  • Cooperate with caregivers and ask questions if you don't understand
  • Inform staff about the medicines you are taking
  • Be respectful and considerate of others
  • Safeguard the personal items you choose to bring with you
  • Maintain your recommended treatment
  • Abide by Hospital rules, including no smoking on the Hospital campus
  • Provide a copy of your advance directive
  • Provide for prompt payment of your bill

Addressing Complaints or Grievances

If you or your representative has a complaint or grievance about any aspect of your care at Virginia Hospital Center, we urge you to let us know so we can resolve it promptly. This reporting will in no way negatively impact your care. We consider your comments opportunities for us to improve care and service.

To address complaints or grievances you can:

  • Speak to your physician, nurse and/or caregiver
  • Speak to the manager of the department where your concern(s) arose
  • Speak to the Administrative Nursing Supervisor or the Administrator on Call (703.558.5000)
  • Speak to the Patient Relations Department (703.558.6195) or write to:
        Patient Relations Department
        1701 N. George Mason Dr., Arlington, VA 22205

Once a complaint or grievance is received and assessed, the Patient Relations Department will inform the appropriate staff and establish a contact person for the patient, family or representative and respond to the patient.

If your grievance cannot be resolved, or at any time, you have the option to submit a verbal or written complaint to the following:

The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Virginia Department of Health
Office of Licensure & Certification
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 401
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: 800.994.6610
Phone: 800.955.1819

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