Patient Rights and Responsibilities
We are committed to delivering quality medical care to you and to making your stay as pleasant as possible. The Saint Clare’s Patients Bill of Rights was developed by the New Jersey Department of Health, and cover medical care, information, records, your bill, your personal needs and your right to privacy and confidentiality. The administration and staff Saint Clare’s Health System endorse these rights. It is our goal to provide effective, considerate medical care within our capacity, mission, philosophy, applicable law, and regulation.
A synopsis of this Bill of Rights is posted in your room. Guest Services can answer any questions you may have about your rights and help you take advantage of them. To contact a patient representative, call 973-989-3189.
Make Your Wishes Known
As a Catholic health care system, Saint Clare’s follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERD’S). These directives are authored by, and periodically reviewed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The purpose of these Ethical and Religious Directives is twofold: first, to reaffirm the ethical standards of behavior in health care that flow from the Church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person; second, to provide authoritative guidance on certain moral issues that face Catholic health care today.
Under New Jersey law, you have the right to make informed choices about healthcare, but it is imperative that you first communicate those choices before they can be carried out accordingly. It is important to give serious thought to treatment preferences ahead of time. You should discuss your preferences with your family and physicians. It is important they know what your wishes are. If you have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare or an Advance Directive, you should make your family and physician aware so that your wishes can be carried out should you become incapacitated. You can change your choices at any time by notifying your physician and family. You should bring a copy of your Advance Directive and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare to the hospital each time you are admitted.
Advance Directive – This is a legal document that states your wishes regarding your medical care should you, as a patient, become either incapacitated, suffer a terminal condition or become permanently unconscious.
Durable Power of Attorney (POA) – This is a legal document that designates another person to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) – POLST is a medical order form that empowers individuals by carefully detailing their personal wishes regarding end-of-life care. It can help you make meaningful personal choices regarding your care and ensure that every member of the healthcare team understands and respects those choices. The form provides a mechanism for a patient to communicate his/her preferences about a range of life-sustaining treatments as well as resuscitation status with his/her physician or Advance Practice Nurse. The POLST form may complement Advance Directives, if available, and does not totally replace that document. The decision by the patient to complete a POLST form is voluntary. However, once the form is completed, it is immediately actionable, portable, and authoritative by New Jersey State Law. Unlike an advance directive, POLST is not appropriate for healthy individuals. POLST is to be used for people who have a life limiting illness, are medically frail or are concerned of losing the capacity to make their own healthcare decisions in the near future. Your POLST form will travel with you and must be honored in all of your healthcare settings. And you can modify your POLST form at any time.
Saint Clare's has developed Putting Your Healthcare Needs in Writing, in both English and Spanish (Espanol), to provide additional detail on Living Wills and other Advance Healthcare Directives. Advance Directives and Living Wills can be developed in conjunction with your attorney or can be easily set-up through convenient forms that Saint Clare's has developed in both English and Spanish (Espanol).
To create an Advance Directive, visit U.S Living Will Registry – a free service that electronically stores advance directives and makes them available to healthcare providers 24 hours a day – or ask your nurse or social worker for information.
Ethics Consultation Services
It is the policy of Saint Clare’s Health System to provide Ethics Consultation Services when requested by the patient, family or staff. The purpose of a consultation is to provide assistance in resolving ethical dilemmas when they arise in the course of patient care. The goals of Ethics Consultations may include, but are not limited to:
Fostering an inclusive decision making process when ethical dilemmas arise
Facilitating the resolution of conflicts
Providing ethics education in the clinical setting
Improving the quality of patient care
Protecting patient rights
Enhancement and improvement of professional practice
Ethics consultations may be initiated through your nurse or the administrator on call. Social Services may also be contacted to initiate a consultation. The Ethics Committee members participate in the facilitation of consultations.
Saint Clare’s Hospital believes that the most precious gift that one can give to another is the gift of life. The New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network is a federally certified organ procurement organization, providing a link between people awaiting transplants and potential donors. The network and Saint Clare’s Hospital work together to offer a comprehensive organ and tissue donation program for patients. If you are interested in receiving information on organ and tissue donation, call the Sharing Network at 1-800-SHARE-NJ. Patients should advise their family and physicians if they have signed an organ-donor card or wish to be an organ or tissue donor.