Parents' Rights and Responsibilities

You and your child deserve the best possible care. We believe that as a parent, you are a member of the health care team, along with the doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals who will be caring for your child.*

You and Your Child Have the Right To:

Quality Health Care

  • You have the right to receive the highest quality medical services and emergency care regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, source of payment, or ability to pay.
  • You have the right to know about treatment options for your child and to discuss them with the health care team members. We will work in partnership with you to make decisions about your child’s care.
  • We will keep your child’s medical information and records private.
  • You have the right to know that your child is in a clean, non-smoking, and safe location, and that she or he is free from restraints or seclusion, unless it is medically necessary.

Care That Supports You as a Family

  • We will introduce ourselves and explain our roles in your child’s care.
  • We will respect your cultural, spiritual, and personal values and beliefs.
  • We will provide a place for at least one parent to remain with your child at all times as long as there is no risk to your child’s health and safety.
  • Other family members are welcome to visit your child unless there is a medical reason they cannot.
  • While your child is in the hospital, it is normal to have feelings of fear, anger, sadness, guilt, loneliness, or fatigue. You can talk to the health care team members about these feelings and concerns, and they will support you, as needed.
  • Before your child leaves the hospital, we will teach you about the care your child will need. We will tell you about people and places in the community that can help you, if needed.

Information You Can Understand

  • If you need help understanding these rights and responsibilities or any other information about your child’s care, we will provide help, including an interpreter.
  • You can ask to have a friend or family member with you whenever people in the hospital are explaining things to you.
  • You have the right to know about your child’s condition, possible conditions, and treatment plan.
  • You have the right to see and review your child’s medical records, and have copies of your child’s medical records, even if you do not have the money to pay for printing services.

Make Decisions About Your Child’s Care

  • We will explain all options and risks so that you can make the best treatment choices for your child.
  • You may refuse treatments, as allowed by law.
  • You can change your mind about care for your child, even if you have already given permission.
  • You have the right to stay in the hospital until all important tests are available. We sometimes call these tests “critical values.” If a test result might affect your child’s immediate health care needs, it should be reviewed and explained to you—before you leave—by a doctor or other health care provider who knows why your child was brought to the emergency department or admitted to the hospital. We’ll also tell you about any other test results that are not back yet.
  • When we think your child is well enough to go home, we’ll give you a written plan, and we’ll go over it with you. We’ll give you a phone number that you can call for advice if you have questions after you leave.
  • If you think your child is not well enough to leave the hospital (to be “discharged”) when we do, we’ll tell you how you can officially ask us to re-consider our decision.
  • If you need help with very difficult decisions, like not giving artificial respiration or stopping life-sustaining treatment, there is a team of people (doctors, nurses, chaplains, and social workers) who can help you.
  • We will not include your child in any research programs or studies without talking to you first, so you can decide if you and your child want to participate. If you do not want to participate or if you want to stop at any time, this will not change your ability to get excellent care, treatment, and services.
  • You can ask for a second opinion from another doctor or ask to be transferred to another hospital, with the understanding that it will be up to you to assume the financial obligation of these decisions.

You and Your Child Have the Responsibility To:

Provide Accurate, Complete Information

  • Please give us the name of your child’s regular doctor (sometimes called “primary care provider” or PCP). We will add that information to your child’s medical record. (You can expect us to ask you this question. If your child does not have a PCP, you can ask us to help you find one.) Your child’s PCP can see the results of any tests done here, and we’ll let you know when we talk to your PCP.
  • Share any information with us that might help us plan the best care for your child and family. We will take the time to listen. We need to know about symptoms, treatments, medicines, and other illnesses.
  • If you are not satisfied with your child’s care, please let us know.

Provide Appropriate Care

  • You and the other members of the health care team will work together to plan and carry out your child’s care. If you are unable to do this, please let us know.
  • You are responsible to make yourself available to receive the education necessary for you to provide the care your child will need when she or he goes home.
  • You are responsible to partner with us to keep your child safe while in the hospital (for example, keeping side rails up, not propping bottles, making sure your child’s sleep area is safe, etc.).
  • It’s important that you help your doctor and nurse develop a pain management plan for your child, to address pain when it first begins, to measure pain, and to tell your caregivers if pain is not relieved.
  • Your family is expected to respect the rights, comfort, and privacy of other children, families, and hospital personnel.

Meet Financial Obligations

  • You have the right to receive a detailed bill, and we will help you understand all charges.
  • You are expected to work with the business office when appropriate to make sure your child’s bill is paid promptly, and to provide them with the information they need to process your account.

Contact Patient and Family Relations

If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns or if you need help resolving a problem and would rather not share it with your nurse or another member of your health care team, please call Patient and Family Relations at (585) 275-5418 or send an email to PatientRelationsSMH@urmc.rochester.edu. If something is bothering you, you can talk to us without being afraid that we will be upset with you or with your child. Your child still will get excellent care. If you are not satisfied with the response you get from us, you have the right to contact the New York State Department of Health. (We can provide that phone number.) And if our concerns cannot be resolved through the hospital or Department of Health, you may contact the Joint Commission by email complaint@jointcomission.org or by phone at 1-800-944-6610.

* Note: In this document, when we refer to a “child,” we’re talking about someone less than 18 years old who does not have the legal authority to make medical decisions on his or her own. When we talk about a “parent,” we mean either biological or adoptive parent, legal guardian, or someone else legally authorized to make medical decisions for someone less than 18 years old.