The basic rights of human beings for independence of expression, decision, action, and concern for personal dignity and human relationships are of great importance. Health professionals are responsible for ensuring that these rights are preserved for all patients. (See the Wrongful Termination section.)
Likewise, health professionals have a right to expect behavior on the part of patients and their patients’ relatives and/or guardians that is reasonable and responsible. Keeping appointments in a timely manner, following health professional recommendations and instructions, and being courteous to staff and other patients are examples of some patient responsibilities.
The Joint Commission describes in its Accreditation Manual for Ambulatory Health Care what it feels are reasonable rights and responsibilities to ensure that "patients are treated in a manner that reflects a recognition of their basic human rights."
The rights and responsibilities of patients are often combined into one document, called “A Patient's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities." This document should be made available to patients in the form of posters conspicuously displayed in the clinic or as pamphlets or flyers.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics offers an example of a patient’s bill of rights and responsibilities.