Patient Rights

The Brattleboro Retreat will honor the rights of patients and their families including guardians or others who have a significant relationship with the patient. The patient's right to treatment or services is respected and supported.

The Brattleboro Retreat will advise patients of their rights and what is expected of them, and will work to help correct problems, and answer complaints (or grievances) that may arise concerning the care of the patient. Each patient will receive a written statement of his or her rights upon admission.

Statements of patient rights and responsibilities are also posted throughout the organization and are available for all others upon request at Access and Evaluation. As a patient you have the right to:

  1. Have reasonable access to care or protective services and a reasonable response to your request for any service that the hospital is able to provide, including pastoral care or counseling or other spiritual services.
  2. Receive considerate and respectful care at all times and under all circumstances, which take into account your personal dignity, values and beliefs.
  3. Expect that your requests will be honored, including the right to utilize a decision-maker of your choice when or if you are unable to understand or communicate your wishes.
  4. Know the name and professional status of individuals providing services to you and to know by name an attending physician who is responsible for coordinating or primarily responsible for your care.
  5. Know about your illness and participate in the decisions that affect your health and well being, obtain complete and current information about your diagnosis, the planned course of treatment, and the prognosis (or medical outlook), in terms you can understand.
  6. Receive from your physician or other health care practitioner, except in emergencies, information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment and know the name of the person responsible for the procedure or treatment. Such information should include the specific procedure or treatment to be performed; the medically significant risks and benefits associated with a recommended treatment or test; the likely impact and length of time you would be laid up; the medically significant alternatives for care or treatment when they exist; and the risks and benefits associated with no treatment at all.
  7. Refuse treatment to the extent that the law allows and be informed of the medical impact of that refusal. You have the right to leave the hospital, even if your doctor advises against it, unless you are incapable of maintaining your own or other people's safety as defined by law. The hospital shall be relieved of responsibility for any harm that comes to you as a result of refusal of treatment or leaving against medical advice.
  8. Expect reasonable privacy and confidentiality of your medical care program and records. People not directly involved in your care must have your permission to be present when care is being given. Certain conditions, such as cases of some communicable diseases, industrial diseases or accidents, and suspected cases of child or elder abuse, must by law be reported to appropriate state agencies, even without a patient's authorization. In some cases involving potential liability, the medical center may disclose information in medical records to its own attorneys and agents.
  9. Be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human experimentation affecting your care or treatment. You can volunteer but cannot be required to take part in clinical training programs or in research studies.
  10. Be informed by the attending physician of any continuing health care requirements following discharge.
  11. Receive a bill when you leave that is itemized, detailed and understandable.
  12. Know what hospital rules and regulations apply to your conduct as a patient.
  13. Have family members or other persons you choose participate in decisions about your care. Patients may enter into a "Reciprocal Beneficiaries Relationship" in Vermont, which grants certain benefits and protections, along with certain responsibilities, to spouses in a marriage or civil union. A patient's Reciprocal Beneficiary shall be recognized and included as a participant in the patient's health care decision-making process.
  14. Have an interpreter if a language barrier or hearing impairment presents a problem to your understanding of the care and treatment being provided.
  15. Talk about your illness and care to anyone you want.
  16. Have a Hospice Companionship and Support Volunteer or Bereavement Care Coordinator if you have received a prognosis of a year or less to live and receive palliative care (pain control)  by contacting Brattleboro Area Hospice, 191 Canal Street, Brattleboro, Vermont or by calling Phone: 802-257-0775, Fax: 802-254-8652 or Toll Free: 800-579-7300
  17. File a written or verbal complaint (or grievance) with the hospital, regarding your care and treatment and have your grievance reviewed. If you have concerns that you wish to discuss, you should notify your physician, nurse or Retreat Healthcare’s Patient Advocate at (802) 258-6103.

If you have a problem, you or your family member also have the option of directly contacting:

Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT (1.800.564.1612)

Vermont Board of Medical Practice
1 Prospect Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-1106 (1.800.439.8683)

Health Care Administration in Waterbury, VT (802.828.2900)

Disability Rights Vermont
141 Main Street, Suite 7
Montpelier, VT 05602 (800.834.7890 or 802.229.1355)

Vermont Department of Health, Medical Practice Board
108 Cherry Street, Burlington, VT (800.834.7890)

Secretary of State Office
81 River Street, Montpelier, VT (802.828.2396)

The Joint Commission (TJC)
(formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)
601 13th Street, NW, Suite 1150N
Washington, DC 20005 Complaint Hotline: (800.994.6610)

As a patient in this hospital, you have the responsibility to:

  • Be considerate of other patients by respecting their privacy and limiting your visitors.
  • Observe safety regulations, including smoking and weapons policies.
  • Supply accurate information to appropriate personnel and report unexpected changes in your condition to your doctor.
  • Ask questions if instructions are unclear.
  • Participate in your treatment plan as recommended by your healthcare team.
  • Assure that the financial obligations of your healthcare are fulfilled as promptly as possible.

If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities, ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, case manager, or other hospital representative.