Patient Rights, Privacy, and Safety VH Denver

Patient Rights, Privacy, and Safety

Protection of Patient Health Information

Vibra Hospital respects the importance of our patient's personal privacy and understands the sensitive nature of our patient's health information.  Vibra Hospital also recognizes that Federal and State laws require that individually identifiable health information must be safeguarded against improper use or disclosure.  It is Vibra Hospital policy not to use or disclose a patient's health information, except as permitted by law, and to adopt safeguards to protect the confidentiality of its patients' health information.

Vibra Hospital utilizes a confidentiality code process to help ensure greater patient confidentiality, privacy, and security of patient information. On admission, each patient/family will be asked to designate two individuals who will use the confidentiality code when calling to discuss patient information.  This confidentiality code will be written on a card and given to the two designated individuals.  Vibra Hospital will disclose information only to callers who can provide the confidentiality code upon request. It is the responsibility of the designated individuals to release the confidentiality code only to a limited number of people.    This process not only provides better protection of patient information, but also reduces the number of phone calls to the nursing units, thus allowing more time for direct patient care by clinical personnel.


Know Your Rights

You have rights and a role regarding your treatment and care. Knowing your rights and role can help you make better decisions about your care.

What are your rights?

  • You have the right to be informed about the care you will receive.
  • You have the right to receive information about your care in your language.
  • You have the right to make decisions about your care, including refusing care.
  • You have the right to know the names of the caregivers who treat you.
  • You have the right to safe care.
  • You have the right to have your pain treated.
  • You have the right to know when something goes wrong with your care.
  • You have the right to get an up-to-date list of all of your current medicines.
  • You have the right to be listened to.
  • You have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect.

What is your role in your health care?

  • You should be active in your healthcare.
  • You should ask questions.
  • You should pay attention to and follow the instructions given to you by your caregivers.
  • You should share as much information as possible about your health with your caregivers. For example, give them an up-to-date list of your medicines. And remind them about your allergies.  

What is “informed consent?”

This means that your healthcare providers have talked to you about your treatment and its risks. They have also talked to you about options to treatment and what can happen if you aren’t treated.

What happens if something goes wrong during treatment or with my care?

If something goes wrong, you have the right to an honest explanation and an apology. The explanation and apology should be made in a reasonable amount of time.

What to do if you have questions regarding care or daily needs?
Vibra Hospital encourages patients, families/legal guardians and visitors to freely express their questions, concerns, and dissatisfactions through established channels without fear of retaliation, discrimination, or interruption of care, treatment, and services. It is critical to the patient care process that patients/families are actively involved in the development of the care plan and assist the hospital care team to identify opportunities for optimizing clinical outcomes. Our goal is for every patient and family member to have an exceptional care experience at Vibra Hospital.

  1. First, address any questions directly to the nursing staff so that we can try and respond immediately to any questions or requests that you may have. Ask for the Charge Nurse or Director of Nursing.
  2. If you feel that your questions or requests have not been addressed to your satisfaction after communicating directly to the Charge Nurse or Director of Nursing, contact Hospital Administration at 303.286.5030 and ask to speak to either the CEO, Chief Clinical Officer, or Director of Quality.
  3. Next, if you still have concerns, additional resources to submit written or verbal requests for complaint resolution are: 
    1. Vibra Long Term Acute Care Hospital, CO
      Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
      8451 Pearl St, Thornton, CO
      Telephone:303.288.3000
    2. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
      4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
      Denver, CO 80222-1530 
      Telephone: 303.692.2827
    3. Office of Quality Monitoring/Joint Commission
      One Renaissance Boulevard
      Oakbrook Terrace, IL  60181
      Telephone: 800.994.6610

Patient Safety – Infection Prevention/Control

What you should know about Preventing Infections/Isolation Precautions

All staff members, physicians, and visitors who enter Vibra Hospital/Vista View Care Center are responsible for assisting with prevention of infection. 

Every patient who is admitted to the facility is closely screened for active infection, to promote initiating the appropriate treatment upon arrival and to provide the appropriate isolation as necessary to prevent cross-contamination with other patients.

Some patients may be admitted with “isolation precautions”. These precautions are ordered because the patient may have an illness or condition that can be spread to other people. We need your help in following some simple rules during this time.

  • The patient must stay in their room at all times.
  • Only immediate close family members will be allowed to visit.
  • Children under 12 will be discouraged from visiting.
  • Wash your hands before entering and leaving the patient room.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after handling patient care and personal items belonging to the patient.

CONTACT PRECAUTIONS

Contact precautions are put into place when a patient has an illness that may be spread by coming in contact with (handling) personal items and objects that have certain types of germs on them.

Check with your loved one’s nurse for specific requirements that may include some or all of the following:

  • Wash your hands before entering and leaving the patient’s room.
  • Patient is to remain in the hospital room while on contact precautions. Please do not go to other common areas so the germs are not spread to anyone else.
  • Wear gloves when entering the room.
  • Change gloves after having contact with any type of body fluids.
  • Remove gloves before leaving the patient room and wash your hands.
  • Wear a special gown when entering the room if you anticipate that your clothing will have contact with the patient, the environmental surfaces (tables, chairs) or items in the patient’s room.
  • Remove the gown before leaving the room being careful to keep the outside of the gown from touching your clothing.
  • Always check with the nurse before taking items into or out of the room.

Thank you for helping us prevents the spread of infection by:

  • Following simple guidelines listed in this handbook.
  • Taking an active role in your own care or the care of your loved one.
  • Asking all health care workers caring for you or your loved one if they have washed their hands.
  • Expecting all health care workers to follow the same guidelines.

VISITATION

Persons who have (or who care for someone who has) a medical condition affecting their immune system should refrain from visiting a patient at Vibra Hospital/Vista View Care Center until they check with their doctor..

Your Right to Make Decisions About Medical Treatment?

This handbook explains your right to make healthcare decisions and how you can plan now for your medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself in the future. A federal law requires us to give you this information. We hope this information will help increase your control over your medical treatment. 

Who decides about my treatment?

Your doctors will give you information and advice about treatment. You have the right to choose. You can say, “Yes” to treatments you want. You can say “No” to any treatment that you don’t want – even if the treatment might keep you alive longer.

Urgent Care Needs

  • Physicians are on site at Vibra Hospital 24 hrs/day to address medical management needs. In addition, physician specialists are available to provide consults at Vibra to assure that medical issues are addressed in a timely and comprehensive fashion.
  • In the event that a patient develops an emergency medical condition or a patient needs more intensive services beyond the capabilities of Vibra Hospital, the patient will be transferred by ambulance to the closest emergency room or to a preferred location identified by patient or physician request. We will make every attempt to contact the emergency contact listed on the Hospital face sheet.

How do I know what I want?

Your doctor must tell you about your medical condition and about what different treatments and pain management alternatives can do for you. Many treatments have “side effects”. Your doctor must offer you information about problems that medical treatment is likely to cause you. Often, more than one treatment might help you-and people have a different idea about which is best. Your doctor can tell you which treatments are available to you, but your doctor can’t choose for you. That choice is yours to make and depends on what is important to you.

Can other people help with my decisions?

Yes. Patients often turn to their relatives and close friends for help in making medical decisions. These people can help you think about the choices you face. You can ask the doctors and nurses to talk with your relatives and friends. They can ask the doctors and nurses questions for you.

Can I choose a relative or friend to make healthcare decisions for me?

Yes. You may tell your doctor that you want someone else to make healthcare decisions for you. Ask the doctor to list that person as your healthcare “surrogate” in your medical record. The surrogate’s control over your medical decisions is effective only during treatment for your current illness or injury or, if you are in a medical facility, until you leave the facility.

What if I become too sick to make my own healthcare decisions?

If you haven’t named a surrogate, your doctor will ask your closest available relative or friend to help decide what is best for you. Most of the time that works. But sometimes everyone doesn’t agree about what to do. That’s why it is helpful if you can say in advance what you want to happen if you cannot speak for yourself.

Do I have to wait until I am sick to express my wishes about health care?

No. In fact, it is better to choose before you get sick or have to go into a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility. You can use an Advance Health Care Directive to say who you want to speak for you and what kind of treatments you want. These documents are called ‘advance’ because you prepare one before health care decisions need to be made. They are called ‘directives’ because they state who will speak on your behalf and what should be done. In Colorado, the part of an advance directive you can use to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions is called a Power of Attorney For Health Care. The part where you can express what you want done is called an Individual Health Care Instruction.

Who can make an advance directive?

You can if you are 18 years or older, or are an emancipated minor, and are capable of making your own medical decisions. You do not need a lawyer.

Who can I name as my agent?

You can choose an adult relative or any other person you trust to speak for you when medical decisions must be made.

When does my agent begin making my medical decisions?

Usually, a healthcare agent will make decisions only after you lose the ability to make them yourself. But, if you wish, you can state in the Power of Attorney for Health Care that you want the agent to begin making decisions immediately.

How does my agent know what I would want?

After you choose your agent, talk to that person about what you want. Sometimes treatment decisions are hard to make, and it truly helps if your agent knows what you want. You can also write your wishes down in your advance directive.

What if I don’t want to name an agent?

You can still write out your wishes in your advance directive, without naming an agent. You can say that you want to have your life continued as long as possible. Or you can say that you would not want treatment to continue your life. Also, you can express your wishes about the use of pain relief or any other type of medical treatment.

Even if you have not filled out a written Individual Health Care Instruction, you can discuss your wishes with your doctor, and ask your doctor to list those wishes in your medical record. Or you can discuss your wishes with your family members or friends. But it will probably be easier to follow your wishes if you write them down.

What if I change my mind?

You can change or cancel your advance directive at any time as long as you can communicate your wishes. To change the person you want to make your healthcare decisions, you must sign a statement or tell the doctor in charge of your care.

What happens when someone else makes decisions about my treatment?

The same rules apply to anyone who makes healthcare decisions on your behalf - a healthcare agent, a surrogate whose name you gave to your doctor, or a person appointed by a court to make decisions for you. All are required to follow your Health Care Instructions or, if none, your general wishes about treatment, including stopping treatment. If your treatment wishes are not known, the surrogate must try to determine what is in your best interest.

The people providing your healthcare must follow the decisions of your agent or surrogate unless a requested treatment would be bad medical practice or ineffective in helping you. If this causes disagreement that cannot be worked out, the provider must make a reasonable effort to find another healthcare provider to take over your treatment.

Will I still be treated if I don’t make an advance directive?

Absolutely. You will still get medical treatment. We just want you to know that if you become too sick to make decisions, someone else will have to make them for you.

Remember that:

A Power of Attorney For Healthcare lets you name an agent to make decisions for you. Your agent can make most medical decisions - not just those about life sustaining treatment – when you can’t speak for yourself. You can also let your agent make decisions earlier, if you wish.

You can create an Individual Healthcare Instruction by writing down your wishes about healthcare or by talking with your doctor and asking the doctor to record your wishes in your medical file. If you know when you would or would not want certain types of treatment, an Instruction provides a good way to make your wishes clear to your doctor and to anyone else who may be involved in deciding about treatment on your behalf. These two types of Advance Healthcare Directives may be used together or separately.

How can I get more information about making an advance directive?

Ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or healthcare provider to get more information for you. You can have a lawyer write an advance directive for you, or you can complete an advance directive by filling in the blanks on a form.

Help Prevent Errors in Your Care

Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.

  • Your health is very important. Do not worry about being embarrassed if you don’t understand something that your doctor, nurse or other health care professional tells you. If you don’t understand because you speak another language, ask for someone who speaks your language. You have the right to get free help from someone who speaks your language.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about safety. If you’re having surgery, ask the doctor to mark the area that is to be operated on.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the nurse or the doctor if you think you are about to get the wrong medicine.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell a health care professional if you think he or she has confused you with another patient.

Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything. Tell your nurse or doctor if something doesn’t seem right.

  • Expect health care workers to introduce themselves. Look for their identification (ID) badges. If you don’t know whom the person is, ask for their ID.
  • Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands. Hand washing is the most important way to prevent infections. Don’t be afraid to remind a doctor or nurse to do this.
  • Know what time of the day you normally get medicine. If you don’t get it, tell your nurse or doctor.
  • Make sure your nurse or doctor checks your ID. Make sure he or she checks your wristband and asks your name before he or she gives you your medicine or treatment.

Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.

  • Ask your doctor about the special training and experience that qualifies him or her to treat your illness.
  • Look for information about your condition. Good places to get that information are from your doctor, your library, respected web sites and support groups.
  • Write down important facts your doctor tells you. Ask your doctor if he or she has any written information you can keep.
  • Read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign anything. If you don’t understand, ask your doctor or nurse to explain them.
  • Make sure you know how to work any equipment that is being used in your care. If you use oxygen at home, do not smoke or let anyone smoke near you.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).

  • Your advocate can ask questions that you may not think about when you are stressed.
  • Your advocate can also help remember answers to questions you have asked. He or she can speak up for you when you cannot speak up for yourself.
  • Make sure this person understands the kind of care you want. Make sure he or she knows what you want done about life support and other life saving efforts if you are unconscious and not likely to get better.
  • Go over the consents for treatment with your advocate before you sign them. Make sure you both understand what you are about to agree to.
  • Make sure your advocate understands the type of care you will need when you get home. Your advocate should know what to look for if your condition is getting worse. He or she should also know who to call for help.

Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.

  • Ask about why you should take the medication. Ask for written information about it, including its brand and generic names. Also ask about the side effects of all medicines.
  • If you do not recognize a medicine, double-check that it is for you. Ask about medicines that you are to take by mouth before you swallow them. Read the contents of the bags of intravenous (IV) fluids. If you're not well enough to do this, ask your advocate to do it.
  • If you are given an IV, ask the nurse how long it should take the liquid to run out. Tell the nurse if it doesn't seem to be dripping right (too fast or too slow).
  • Whenever you get a new medicine, tell your doctors and nurses about allergies you have, or negative reactions you have had to other medicines.
  • If you are taking a lot of medicines, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take those medicines together. Do the same thing with vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Make sure you can read the handwriting on prescriptions written by your doctor. If you can't read it, the pharmacist may not be able to either. Ask somebody at the doctor's office to print the prescription, if necessary.
  • Carry an up-to-date list of the medicines you are taking in your purse or wallet. Write down how much you take and when you take it. Go over the list with your doctor and other caregivers.
  • Vibra Hospital will provide all medications needed for your care unless specific arrangements have been made for patients to bring medications from home.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission's quality standards.

  • Ask about the health care organization's experience in taking care of people with your type of illness. How often do they perform the procedure you need? What special care do they provide to help patients get well?
  • If you have more than one hospital to choose from, ask your doctor which one has the best care for your condition.
  • Before you leave the hospital or other facility, ask about follow-up care and make sure that you understand all of the instructions.
  • Go to Quality Check at www.qualitycheck.org to find out whether your hospital or other health care organization is "accredited."

Accredited means that the hospital or health care organization works by rules that make sure that patient safety and quality standards are followed.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

  • You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
  • Know who will be taking care of you. Know how long the treatment will last. Know how you should feel.
  • Understand that more tests or medications may not always be better for you. Ask your doctor how a new test or medication will help.
  • Keep copies of your medical records from previous hospital stays and share them with your health care team. This will give them better information about your health history.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion. If you are unsure about the best treatment for your illness, talk with one or two additional doctors. The more information you have about all the kinds of treatment available to you, the better you will feel about the decisions made.
  • Ask to speak with others who have had the same treatment or operation you may have to have. They may help you prepare for the days and weeks ahead. They may be able to tell you what to expect and what worked best for them.
  • Talk to your doctor and your family about your wishes regarding resuscitation and other life-saving actions.

What You Should Know About Pain Management

Talking About Your Pain

Is it important for doctors and nurses to constantly ask about your pain?

Yes. This is because pain changes over time or your pain medicine may not be working. Doctors and nurses should ask about your pain regularly. Vibra Hospital has physicians who specialize in chronic pain/pain management on site. If needed, your Vibra physician may request a consultation by these specialized physicians to assist in successfully managing pain control issues.

What do you need to tell your doctor and nurse about pain?

First, tell them that you have pain, even if they don't ask. Your doctor or nurse may ask you to describe how bad your pain is on a scale of 0 (zero) to 10 with 10 being the worst pain. Tell them where and when it hurts.

Tell them if you can't sleep or do things like dressing or climbing stairs because of pain. The more they know about your pain the better they can treat it. The following words can be used to describe your pain: 

  • aching  
  • bloating
  • burning 
  • cramping
  • comes and goes
  • constant
  • cutting
  • dull  
  • numbing
  • pressing
  • pressure
  • pulling
  • radiating
  • searing
  • sharp
  • shooting
  • soreness
  • stabbing
  • throbbing
  • tightness


What can you do when your pain gets worse?

Tell your doctor or nurse. Tell them how bad your pain is or if you're in pain most of the time. Tell the doctor if the pain medicine you're taking is not helping.

Should you include pain medicine on your list of medicines or medication card?

Yes! Even pain medicine that you will take for a short time should be listed with all of your other medicines. List all of your pain medicines-those prescribed by your doctor and those you buy over-the-counter.