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Learn more about our Visitor Policy and COVID-19 Resources.

Patients & Visitors' Guide

Patient's Rights and Responsibilities 

The rights and responsibilities of patients who are unable to make decisions because of physical or mental limitations or because they are minors are protected by the patient's guardian, health care agent or legal representative.

You Have the Right Regarding . . .

Communication and Decision-Making

  • To know the name and role (M.D., R.N., L.P.N., etc.) of your doctor and other caregivers
  • To receive information about your medical problem and treatment in language you can understand
  • To communicate with your caregivers and receive assistance with any special needs you may have
  • To read your medical record
  • To have confidentiality regarding your medical information
  • To participate in decisions involving your care, including the right to refuse care to the extent permitted by law, and to be informed of the medical consequences of this action
  • To have a consultation with a specialist, at your expense
  • To be informed about the outcomes of care, including unexpected outcomes
  • To request a transfer to another room
  • To voice complaints about your care and have those complaints reviewed and, when possible, have those complaints resolved

Your concerns are important to us.  If you have comments about your care, patient rights and/or would like to share a compliment, please contact the Service Excellence Department at 978 922-3000, ext. 2273 (CARE).

When you have concerns regarding patient care or safety that have not been resolved by the hospital, you may contact the Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality at 800 462-5540 and/or the Joint Commission's Office of Quality Monitoring at 800 994-6610 or email


  • To receive a prompt response to any concerns or complaints you express
  • To have an advance directive (either a Health Care Proxy or a Durable Power of Attorney for health care) and expect the hospital to honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy.

Treatment Planning and Care

  • To have privacy and respectful care
  • To have a person of your own sex present during personal care
  • To have your pain or discomfort relieved as much as possible
  • To refuse to be cared for by students or any other staff without affecting your access to care
  • To refuse to participate in research
  • To have the protection and environment needed for personal safety
  • To help with planning your after-hospital medical care.

Family, Friends, Spiritual Support, Personal Matters

  • To define the level of involvement of your family members in your health care decisions
  • To have visitors and to communicate with people outside of the hospital, or to refuse to see visitors
  • To practice spiritual and cultural preferences that do not harm others or interfere with your care
  • To wear personal clothing and religious or symbolic items that do not interfere with your care

Financial Arrangements

  • To receive prompt lifesaving treatment in an emergency regardless of your ability to pay
  • To be informed of the hospital's charges for treatment, to learn about available payment methods including financial assistance and/or free care; to receive a copy of all charges submitted to insurance companies

Your Responsibilities as a Patient

  • To follow the rules or regulations of the hospital which may apply to your conduct and safety as a patient
  • To provide, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about your symptoms, past illnesses, allergies, hospitalizations, medications, pain severity, and other matters relating to your health
  • To report unexpected changes in your condition to your doctor or nurse
  • To report whether you clearly understand the medical plan for you and understand what part you play in it
  • To follow the treatment plan recommended by the doctor responsible for your care by following the instructions of nurses and other health professionals as they carry out the plan of care, implement the responsible doctor's orders, and enforce the applicable hospital rules and regulations
  • To be responsible for your actions if you refuse treatment or do not follow the doctor's instructions
  • To assure that the financial obligations for your health care are fulfilled as promptly as possible
  • To be considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel by assisting in the control of noise and the number of visitors
  • To be respectful of the property of other persons in the hospital




  • Patient Advocate CARE Hotline

978 922-3000, ext. 2273 (CARE)

  • Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality

800 462-5540

  • Joint Commission's Office of Quality Monitoring

800 994-6610