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VA Patients Rights: Participation in Treatment Decisions


The VA has outlined basic patient rights and responsibilities. Talk with your VA treatment team members or a patient advocate if you have any questions.

Participation in Treatment Decisions

  • You, and any persons you choose, will be involved in all decisions about your care. You will be given information you can understand about the benefits and risks of treatment. You will be given other options. You can agree to or refuse treatment. You will be told what is likely to happen to you if you refuse treatment. Refusing treatment will not affect your rights to future care, but you take responsibility for the possible results to your health.
  • Tell your provider about your current condition, medicines (including over-the-counter and herbals), and medical history. Also, share any other information that affects your health. You should ask questions when you do not understand something about your care. Being involved is very important for you to get the best possible results.
  • You will be given, in writing, the name and title of the provider in charge of your care. As our partner in healthcare, you have the right to be involved in choosing your provider. You also have the right to know the names and titles of those who provide you care. This includes students, residents and trainees. Providers will properly introduce themselves when they take part in your care.
  • You will be educated about your role and responsibilities as a patient or resident. This includes your participation in decision making and care at the end of life.
  • If you believe you cannot follow the treatment plan, you have a responsibility to notify your provider or treatment team.
  • You have the right to have your pain assessed and to receive treatment to manage your pain. You and your treatment team will develop a pain management plan together. You are expected to help the treatment team by telling them if you have pain and if the treatment is working.
  • As an inpatient or nursing home resident, you will be provided any transportation necessary for your treatment plan.
  • You have the right to choose whether you will participate in any research project. Any research will be clearly identified. Potential risks of the research will be identified and there will be no pressure on you to participate.
  • You will be included in resolving any ethical issues about your care. You may consult with the Medical Center’s Ethics Consultation Service and/or other staff knowledgeable about healthcare ethics.
  • If you or the Medical Center believes that you have been neglected, abused or exploited, you will receive help.

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