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The rights of patients have been the subject of revision and in-depth analysis in the public health systems of most countries. In the United States it is not a new issue, since the beginning of the 1900s the federal public health agency was created in this country, this being the beginning of many years of work and improvement to reach the current public health system. One of the laws that controls this system is precisely the Patient’s Declaration of Rights. We know that many of these rights have a universal character and are raised in most countries, others are more influenced by different cultures and adapt to different societies.
United States, the United States is a country where many different cultures coexist, a large part of the population is made up of immigrants from many different regions of the planet, this is undoubtedly a challenge for medical care. Patients have the right to have their culture and beliefs respected, including receiving care in their own language. Another very important right is the right to receive care when requested, regardless of race, sexual orientation, immigration status, economic status, or country of origin. The patient deserves respect for their privacy and autonomy, decides who can know their medical information or make decisions on their behalf. Patients may or may not accept a specific treatment or intervention. Knowing the truth and having all the information about your health problem is another of the most raised rights in medical centers and hospitals. We cannot fail to mention the right to respect for their dignity, to be treated ethically, to provide them with quality services or to receive help both inside and outside the health centers. (Wilson CD, et al., 2020)
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The right of patients and their fulfillment is not only inherent to the doctor, but all health workers also who are related to a patient have the obligation to fulfill and respect their rights. The first and most important step is knowledge. All professionals in the health field should know and be aware of these rights. For nurses, this respect is part of their code of ethics, being the health provider that spends the most time caring for the patient. In the daily work of doctors and nurses, the rights of patients are continuously protected, providing them with support, high-quality services, hygienic care centers and healthy environments. Complying with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which stipulates the importance of protecting against fraud and theft of patients’ personal information as well as prohibiting its disclosure without the patient’s consent. We help fulfill the rights of patients by making them feel comfortable and safe, always being ready to answer their questions or respecting their silence, supporting them during their illness and extending support to their families. It is evident that when a patient perceives that his rights are respected, the trust in the staff that attends him will be an achievement. There is one last element that I would like to address in relation to this topic and it is the patient’s right to know their rights. I believe that nurses can be very helpful at this point, guiding and teaching the patient about her own rights is also a way of respecting and complying with them. (Kim K, et al., 2017)
Wilson CD, Probe RA. Shared Decision-making in Orthopaedic Surgery. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2020 Dec 01;28(23): e1032-e1041.
Kim K, Han Y, Kim JS. Nurses’ and patients’ perceptions of privacy protection behaviours and information provision. Nurs Ethics 2017; 24(5): 598–611.
Sethi D, Rani Mk. Communication Barrier in Health Care Setting as Perceived by Nurses and Patient. Inter J Nurs Edu. 2017;9(4):30-35.