Patient's Rights & Responsibilities

We encourage all of our patients to be partners in health by taking an active role in medical decision making, with the guidance of physicians. Our well-trained team is available to help you stay in charge of your health, but any decisions about your health are ultimately up to you.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents, including a living will and healthcare power of attorney, which allow people to stay in control of end-of-life decisions. For example, advance directives communicate your feelings about tube feeding, organ and tissue donation, and the use of life-sustaining medical equipment to those who would make healthcare decisions for you if you could not make those decisions for yourself.

Anyone living in Maine who is 18 years of age or older can complete an advance directive. Under Maine law, any spoken or written decision or instruction about your future healthcare wishes is considered an advance directive, but it is recommended that you write your decisions on paper with witnesses if possible. The advance directive will go into effect when you are too sick to express your own medical decisions.

Upon admission, you will be asked if you have an advance directive. If you don’t, and would like information, a hospital representative will come to your room to assist you with an advance directive packet. If you have an advance directive, a copy should be given to your primary care physician, a close family member, and the Health Information Services (Medical Records) Department to be attached to your permanent medical record. The document will remain with your medical records while you are in the hospital so that your healthcare providers have easy access to your wishes concerning medical care. If you have any questions about advance directives, please call our Patient Services Advocate at 768-4394 (ext. 4394 in the hospital).

Organ and Tissue Donation

Every year, thousands of Americans benefit from receiving donated organs or tissues, but choosing to donate is a very personal decision. It is The Aroostook Medical Center’s policy that we do not ask our patients if they are interested in becoming an organ or tissue donor; that decision is best made by you well before it becomes necessary to consider donating. If you have questions about organ and tissue donation, please contact your nurse for assistance. We would also encourage you to speak to your family about your preference as they would have to make the final decision in the event of your death.


HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is a federal law that helps to ensure the privacy of your protected health information. Part of this law requires healthcare facilities and providers to provide each patient with a document called Notice of Privacy Practices. This document describes how The Aroostook Medical Center uses your protected health information and how we may disclose it to others outside of our organization. It also describes your rights concerning your protected health information. The Notice of Privacy Practices for The Aroostook Medical Center is available at all points of registration. This document will be given to you when you first arrive at the hospital and whenever you register for services.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient of The Aroostook Medical Center, we want you to be able to make informed choices about your care. Your choices and values will be respected. We will provide you with excellent care in a compassionate environment.

As a patient, your rights will include the following:
  1. You have the right to good and polite care. This care will not change because of your race, color, religion,
    national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disabilities, or age.
  2. You have the right to have your illness, tests, and/or treatments explained in adequate and understandable language and to talk about choices with your healthcare provider. You and your representative are encouraged to be involved in decisions about your medical care, treatment, and services provided.
  3. You have the right to know the names of the people taking care of you and to be told what they are going to do at each step of your treatment.
  4. You have the right to agree to or refuse a treatment or plan for taking care of you, as permitted by law and hospital policy, and be told of the risks. If you refuse a plan for taking care of you, you will receive other needed and available care.
  5. You have the right to expect someone to help you quickly when you complain of pain. You can expect someone to explain how to measure your pain and your choices for treatment.
  6. You have the right to make choices about future healthcare. Any written or spoken choices about the health care that you want in the future are called advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will).  You can tell your medical provider or family what you want, but it is best to write it down. If you have already signed an advance directive, be sure your medical provider, your hospital, and your family have a copy.
  7. You have the right to have the pastor, priest, or spiritual leader of your choice visit you in the hospital and caring support consistent with your culture or lifestyle.
  8. You have the right to have the hospital and your caregivers respect and protect your confidentiality, privacy, safety, and security when taking care of you.
  9. You have the right to effective communication about your care, treatment, and services.  If you need a foreign language or sign language interpreter while receiving medical care and services, one will be provided at no charge to you.
  10. You have the right to expect your hospital records to be private (confidential). You must be asked before people outside of the hospital can see your records. Upon request, a copy of your records can be sent with you if you change hospitals or medical providers.
  11. You have the right to an environment that preserves dignity and contributes to a positive self image. You have the right to be free from mental, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, neglect, and exploitation. You have the right to access protective and advocacy services.
  12. You have the right to complain about your care. You may write it down or tell someone about your complaint/grievance and expect a reasonable response. The Patient Services Advocate (dial 4394) or other appointed staff will help you if you have a complaint about your care. Although we try to assure that all of our patients’ expectations are met through this process, there are occasions when the outcome is not judged to be satisfactory by the patient or their family. If you wish to report patient safety or quality of care concerns, or seek to have another review accomplished, you may do so by contacting the following:
    The State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services
    Division of Licensing and Certification
    By mail: 41 Anthony Avenue, 11 State House Station
    Augusta, ME 04333
    By phone: 1-(800)-791-4080
    The Joint Commission
    Office of Quality and Patient Safety
    By mail: One Renaissance Blvd.
    Oak Brook Terrace, IL 60181
    By fax:  (630)792-5636
    By website: using the “Report a Patient Safety Event” link located in the “Action Center” on the website homepage.
    By mail: 10830 Guilford Road, Ste.312
    Annapolis, MD 20701
    By phone:1-866-815-5440                                                                                    
  13. You have the right to look at your medical record. Please make an appointment to do so with our Health Information Services Department by dialing 4175.
  14. You have the right to be told if this hospital works with other hospitals, schools, healthcare providers or payers that could affect your treatment or care.
  15. You have the right to choose or refuse to take part in any research that could be part of your care. You will receive all other necessary and available care. 
  16. You have the right to be told when hospital care is no longer needed and what other choices you have.
  17. You have the right to know how much it will cost you to receive services at The Aroostook Medical Center. You may ask someone to explain your bill to you.
As a patient, you have the following responsibilities:
  1. You need to tell your caregivers about your past and present illnesses and any medications that you take. We would like to see your prescription medication bottles to assure we understand the name of the medication, the strength, and the dosage information.
  2. You need to make sure that you understand your illness and care, and to ask questions if you do not understand.  You are responsible for following all instructions given to you.
  3. You and your visitors need to be polite and kind to other patients and the staff, and to respect hospital property. You need to follow The Aroostook Medical Center’s rules and regulations that apply to patients and visitors.
  4. You need to give the hospital information about your healthcare insurance and pay your bill on time.
In an emergency these rights may be suspended, but only in an emergency.

We are working to improve your health and to increase your understanding of your health and/or illnesses. We respect your values and will work to provide you with high quality care and excellent service.

The Aroostook Medical Center is prohibited from receiving payment for serious harm that results from preventable mistakes and adverse events as defined by state law.

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