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Patient Rights and Responsibilities

During your hospital stay, our goal is to offer as much support as possible by providing information and open channels of communication. Your comments, observations, complaints or compliments enable us to evaluate our employees and services. As a patient, you have certain rights and responsibilities. By understanding them, you can contribute to your care in a positive way.

Dignity, Respect, Comfort and Safety

  • The caregivers of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) honors your right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times. You have the right to feel secure and comfortable that you are receiving proper care.
  • You have the right to be given consideration and respect for your psychosocial, spiritual, religious, and cultural beliefs and values. SJMO will provide service to all people without any discrimination based on race, national origin, age, creed or handicap.
  • Patients and visitors are responsible for all personal belongings. We recommend you bring only essential items to the hospital, to be placed in your room as space permits. Please leave all valuables at home or send them home with a family member or friend upon admission. If family members are not present, the staff nurse will contact the SJMO Public Safety Office to lock patient valuables in a safe.
  • You have the right to be free from all forms of abuse and harassment.
  • If someone else caused your illness or injuries, you have the right to be safe and free from further harm. Please contact an SJMO social worker for help.
  • You have the right to receive reasonable response to any reasonable request you make for services.
  • You have a right to be free from restraints that are neither medically necessary nor needed for your personal safety or the safety of our staff and visitors.

Know Your Care Providers

  • You have the right to know the name of the physician who has primary responsibility for coordinating your care, as well as the names and professions of all other health care providers who care for you.

Participate in Medical Decisions

  • You have the right to participate in your medical care by having medical information explained in language you can understand.
  • You have the right to discuss with your physicians and other care providers: (1) your illness or injury; (2) the risks, benefits and alternatives of your medical treatment; and (3) prospects for your recovery.
  • You have the right to agree to receive the recommended treatment or to refuse treatment, including the right to discharge yourself against medical advice.
  • You should not be subjected to any procedure without your voluntary, informed consent, or that of a legally authorized representative.
  • You have the right to know what medication is being given to you. Medications will be administered at times based upon hospital standards and your doctor's orders. These medications may differ from the ones you take at home. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
  • You have the right to have an Advance Medical Directive (i.e. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and/or a Living Will) to ensure there will be reasonable informed participation in decisions involving your health care, should you lose your decision-making capacity. SJMO will honor the intent of your Advance Directive to the extent permitted by law and SJMO policies. Please speak with your health care provider, or contact a Patient Representative, if you have any questions regarding Advance Medical Directives.
  • Please speak with your health care provider, or contact the Patient Advocate at 248-858-3535 if you have questions or need assistance regarding Advance Medical Directives

Appropriate, Comfortable Care

  • You have the right to the highest level of pain relief that can be safely provided. In the event of a terminal illness, you have the right to optimal comfort, dignity and supportive care. We are committed to using the necessary resources to provide quality pain management for our patients.
  • You have the right to obtain a second medical opinion.


  • You have the right to privacy when discussing personal medical information during examinations.
  • Patients have the right not to remain disrobed any longer than is necessary to accomplish the medical procedure. You also have the right to have a person of your own gender present during physical examinations, treatment, or procedures performed by a care provider when appropriate.
  • You have the right to privacy during personal hygiene care, except when assistance is necessary for your safety and well-being. Every effort will be made to protect your privacy.

Assistance in Removing Communication Barriers

You have the right to a foreign language interpreter, sign language interpreter, and/or telecommunications devices for the deaf to facilitate communication between yourself and your health care providers

Visitors and Communication

You have the right to receive visitors whom you designate, including but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend. You have the right to withdraw or deny such consent at any time. You will be informed if visitation may be restricted due to clinical necessity or circumstances where it may infringe on the rights and/or safety of others. You also have the right to refuse to see any visitors. You have the right to determine whether you want to communicate with any person not officially connected with SJMO.

Report Problems and Make Recommendations About Your Care

  • You have the right to voice your concerns or complaints and expect to have them resolved in a timely manner.

You may voice your concerns or make a complaint to any SJMO staff member or your physician. If you feel your concern has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please contact the Care Experience Specialist and Patient Advocate at (248) 858-3535 to file a formal grievance. You may also contact the Michigan Department of Community Health - Bureau of Health Services at (800) 882-6006.

SJMO Oakland is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. We are committed to embracing a culture that celebrates clinical quality, patient safety and service satisfaction and take all concerns and inquiries seriously. If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about the patient safety, quality or customer service at this institution contact St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital Administration at (248) 858-3140.

If you feel your concern has not been taken seriously, you then have the option of sharing your concern with the Joint Commission Accreditation of Hospitals via email at

Assistance from the Ethics Committee

You have the right to contact the SJMO Ethics Committee to address any ethical concerns that you believe arise during your care. To contact the Clinical Ethics Committee, please dial "0" and the Operator will call the representative on call for you.

Assistance During Discharge

You have a right to be informed of your future health care needs following your discharge from the hospital. You have the right to receive assistance from an SJMO Case Manager Coordinator, if necessary, to ensure that you receive appropriate care after you leave the hospital.

Confidentiality and Access of Records

  • You have the right to expect confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to your care. You may approve or refuse the release of these records to anyone outside of SJMO except in the case of your transfer to another health care facility, or as required by law or third-party payment contracts.
  • You have the right to access your medical record information within the limitations of the law.

Assistance in Addressing Your Bill

If you have concerns about your insurance coverage or how you intend to pay your bill, please let us know by calling a financial counselor at (248) 858-6196. You may be eligible for financial assistance through government or private sources. For all other billing questions call: 1-800-494-5797.

Patient Responsibilities:

  • Be considerate of other patients, staff and hospital property.
  • Be attentive to how the sound of your radio, TV and visitors may impact others.
  • Provide a complete and accurate medical history. Details contained there are important in your doctor's ability to identify your illness/injury and properly prescribe treatment.
  • Tell us if you do not understand what you are being asked to do or not to do. Ask questions if we have not fully explained any aspect of your care.
  • Tell your nurse or doctor if you notice any change in how you feel. They will inform you if it is a normal part of your treatment.
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St. Joseph Mercy Oakland | 44405 Woodward Avenue, Pontiac, Michigan 48341 | 248-858-3000