Patient Bill of Rights & Responsibilities

At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, we seek to provide exceptional care and the best possible experience for every patient and family. We want to work together with you to ensure you receive the clinical care, compassion and services you need. By understanding your rights and responsibilities, you can help us help you.

As our patient, you have the right to...

Receive considerate, respectful and quality care

You can expect:

To be treated with dignity and regard for your psychosocial, spiritual and cultural beliefs.

  • Treatment, service evaluation and referral as needed. If we cannot meet these needs, or if you request a transfer, we will facilitate a transfer. You may be transferred to another facility once the following has occurred: you have received complete information about why the transfer is needed; we have discussed available options with you in lieu of a transfer; the receiving facility has agreed to the transfer.

  • To be treated with dignity and regard for your psychosocial, spiritual and cultural beliefs.

  • Acceptance and respect. Northwestern Memorial is a community of caregivers who welcome, respect and serve with dignity all people without regard to race, color, gender, national origin, religion, disability, handicap, age, Vietnam or other veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or any other status protected by relevant law.

  • To be able to exercise cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices that do not interfere with the well-being of others or your treatment plan.

  • Appropriate continuity of care and referrals. You have the right to have your own physician promptly notified of your admission to the hospital. You have the right to be informed of needed follow-up care after you leave the hospital.

  • Foreign language or sign language interpretation so that you can access the care and information needed to participate in your care.

  • Information about any relationship of the hospital and staff to other healthcare and educational institutions, as it is related to your care.

You have the right to...

Obtain information about your treatment and healthcare team

You can expect your healthcare team to explain:

  • Your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis in terms you can understand.

  • Your role in your care.

  • Treatment options.

  • Expected course of the treatment and/or recovery.

  • Benefits and risks of treatments.

  • The names of the physicians responsible for your care.

  • Any proposed clinical trials affecting your care or treatment. You have the right to refuse to participate in such trials. If you refuse, this will not affect your access to continued care.

You may also...

  • Receive calls and visitors including spouse, domestic partner, family members and friends. You may withdraw or deny consent to calls and visitors at any time.

  • Visitors are not restricted, limited or otherwise denied visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

  • Receive this Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

  • Examine and copy (at your own expense) your medical records after you leave the hospital.

You have the right to...

Make decisions about your care

You or your legally designated representative should expect:

  • Information needed to give informed consent. This includes proposed procedures/treatment options and their risks and benefits, in the language you can understand.

  • Information about advance directives. Northwestern Memorial will provide a resource to assist you in preparing a living will or power of healthcare attorney (as requested). You may select a healthcare agent in case you become unable to make decisions about your treatment.

  • To be encouraged to make healthcare decisions as permitted by law. This includes use or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

  • To always have the right to refuse treatment and care and to be informed by the healthcare team of any anticipated medical outcome of refusal.

  • That upon request by you or your family, the hospital's Ethics Committee will help you and your care team explore options and issues that will assist you in making healthcare decisions.

You have the right to...

Be comfortable and safe

You can expect:

  • Appropriate assessment and management to relieve your pain while maintaining your level of function.

  • A safe healthcare setting, free from verbal or physical abuse or harassment.

  • Restraints or seclusion will be used only when needed for the safety and medical well-being of you and others.

  • Comfort and dignity. If you are terminally ill, your symptoms will be treated. Pain will be managed appropriately and aggressively. You and your family will receive support to address psychosocial and spiritual concerns related to dying and grief.

You have the right to...

Have privacy and confidentiality

You can expect:

  • Confidential discussions, consultations, examinations and treatments that are conducted discreetly. Those not directly involved in your care must have your permission to be present. You will be interviewed, examined and cared for in a setting that provides as much privacy as possible.

  • To refuse visitors if you wish. You also may refuse contact with hospital staff not involved with your care, with the exception of security officers.

  • The presence of members of your own gender, upon request, during exams or procedures performed by healthcare professionals.

You also have the right to:

  • Examine and receive an explanation of your bill, regardless of the source of payment.

  • Know what hospital rules apply to your conduct as a patient.

Northwestern Memorial does not restrict, limit or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Patient responsibilities:

To help us provide you with high-quality care, you are responsible for:

  • Providing, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and complete information about your health, including:

    • The nature of your illnesses

    • Past illnesses and hospitalizations

    • Specific problems, symptoms, pain or issues you have during your hospital stay

    • Medication history, reactions and concerns

    • Changes in your medical condition as they occur

    • Any advance directives (living will, power of attorney for healthcare, other) you have prepared

  • Asking questions if you do not understand your treatment plan and your role in that plan.

  • Making informed decisions about your care.

  • Participating in the treatment plan agreed upon with your healthcare team. However, you always have the right to consciously refuse treatment.

  • Following hospital rules as they affect patient care, such as:

    • Consideration for the rights and respect for the property of other patients and staff

    • Assistance in our efforts to limit noise

    • Assistance in our efforts to limit the number of visitors for safety and noise control

    • Compliance with our smoke-free environment policy

    • Refrain from bringing the following items to the hospital: alcohol, tobacco products, weapons or any illegal substances. We reserve the right to have our security staff search patient belongings, rooms, visitors and their possessions. If possible, we will let you know before any search is conducted.

You are also responsible for:

  • Providing complete, accurate and timely information about the sources of payment for the care provided by the hospital. Emergency services will not be delayed while we are waiting for such information.

  • Fulfilling your financial obligations for your healthcare as promptly as possible

The Hospital Report Card Act

The Hospital Report Card Act, effective January 1, 2004, provides Illinois consumers with access to information about the quality of healthcare services. This includes information pertaining to staffing levels on nursing units as well as nursing staff orientation and training.

You can find information about Northwestern Memorial Hospital


Questions about the Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities or other hospital policies should be directed to our Patient Representative department at 312-926-3112.

In keeping with our Patients First mission and in compliance with the law, Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides the opportunity for all patients to express their concerns about the quality of care, language-assistance services or premature discharge through a grievance mechanism. The hospital has established a process for the prompt investigation and resolution of grievances. The patient or a representative may contact our Patient Representative department in person or by calling 312-926-3112 to file a grievance. The hospital also has the obligation to disclose the name of the state agency to which the patient may take a grievance. In Illinois the specific State agency is:

Illinois Department of Public Health  Central Complaint Registry 
525 W. Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62761
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Phone: 800-252-4343
TTY: 800-526-4372 

In addition, patients may also contact:

The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Website: The Joint Commission
Fax: 630-792-5636

Para asistencia en español, por favor llamar a el departamento de repersentantes para pacientes al 312-926-3112.

Northwestern Memorial is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes, respects and serves with dignity all people and does not discriminate, including in hiring, or employment, or admission, or access to, or treatment in its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, disability, handicap, age, Vietnam or other veteran status, sexual orientation or any other status protected by relevant law. To arrange for TDD/TTY, auxiliary aids and foreign language interpretation services, or for issues related to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, call the Patient Representative department at 312-926-3112, TDD/TTY number 312-926-6363.