Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Sentara is dedicated to providing you with the best in healthcare, both in terms of treatment and patient experience. We respect your rights as a patient and want you to understand your responsibility as a partner in your care.

As a patient in a Sentara hospital, you have certain rights and protections guaranteed by state and federal laws. These exist to help ensure the quality and safety of your hospital care. A copy of "Let’s TALK about Patient's Rights and Responsibilities" will be provided to you upon your admission to the hospital.

Notice of Privacy Practices

  • Communication and Decision Making

    You have the right...

    • To know the name, role, and specialty of all people who are providing your care.
    • To confidentiality of your medical information and  records.
    • To have your medical care and treatments explained to you clearly.
    • To participate in informed decisions about your plan of care.
    • To be treated with respect and dignity.
    • To  appoint a Healthcare Agent.
    • To read your medical record and request a copy of your record be provided in a timely manner.
    • To express concerns about your care or safety and receive a prompt response.
    • To interpreter services and/or special devices if you are limited-English speaking, deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired, or other impaired sensory/manual/speaking skills, at no cost to you.
    • To review your whiteboard and daily goals of care.
    • To have your Primary Care Physician and your representative of choice notified of your admission.
  • Personal Matters

    You have the right...

    • To have visitors of your choosing without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or disability.
    • To have visitors of your choosing, but not limited to, a spouse, domestic partner (including same-sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with some limitations.
    • To tell us how, if at all, you would like your family to participate in your care and decision making.
    • To access spiritual support during your stay.
  • Treatment and Care

    You have the right...

    • To have your Advance Care Plan (Advance Directive) honored, and to receive information on Advance Care Plans if you do not have one and request more information.
    • To be kept safe at all times, and free from abuse or harassment.
    • To personal privacy at all times within the capacity of the facility.
    • To have your pain addressed promptly by your medical team.
    • To refuse to be examined, observed, or treated by students or staff without jeopardizing your access to care.
    • To be free from restraints of any form that are not medically necessary or are used as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation by staff.
    • To receive complete information regarding your plan of care and treatment that is medically appropriate, and to request and/or refuse treatment, but not the provision of treatment or services deemed medically unnecessary or inappropriate.
    • To prompt life-saving treatment in an emergency, regardless of your economic status or source of payment.
    • To receive the highest medical care that meets the standards of Sentara Healthcare regardless of race, culture, color, religion, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or any disability or handicap or source of payment for your care.
    • To notice of non-coverage and to appeal if you think your discharge is premature.
    • To refuse to participate in medical research studies.
  • Financial Matters

    You have the right...

    • To know if your doctor has a financial or other conflict of interest as it relates to your care.
    • To request and receive information regarding financial assistance or no cost treatment.
    • To request and receive an itemized bill and an explanation of the bill.
  • Effective Communication

    You have the right...

    • To interpreter services and/or special devices if you are limited-English speaking, deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired, or other impaired sensory/manual/speaking skills, at no cost to you.
    • If you prefer to have family members or friends help Interpret for you, this is your right. However, Sentara will still provide an interpreter when critical medical information is being discussed, to assure we have effective communication and to validate your family member or friend is interpreting medical information correctly. Remember, interpreters are provided at no charge to you.
    • To effective communication.
    • Sign language and oral interpreters, TDD, video remote interpreting (VRI), assisted listening devices, closed caption TVs, picture boards, cue cards, documents in multiple languages and/or other auxiliary aids and services, are available free of charge to patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing, have speech disabilities, sensory/manual impairments, or are limited English speaking people. For assistance, please contact any Sentara Healthcare personnel for  assistance.
    • Written materials concerning treatment, benefits, services, waivers of rights, and consent to treatment forms will be read to you out loud and forms will be explained to you by staff if you are blind or have low vision. Services include large print and material converted to Braille. For assistance, please contact any Sentara personnel for assistance.
    • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, have speech disabilities, have sensory/manual impairments are blind or have low vision, have the right to request auxiliary aids and to receive services.
    • For more information about the ADA, call the department of Justice’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514- 0301, TDD: 1-800-514-0383 or visit the ADA Home Page at www.ada.gov.
    • For more information about Section 504, call the U.S. Department of Health and human Services, Office  for Civil Rights (OCR) at 1-800-368-1019, TDD: 1-800-537- 7697 or visit OCR’s Home Page at  www.hhs.gov/OCR.
  • Accessibility

    You have the right...

    • To facilities that are accessible to you.
    • To convenient off-street parking designated  specifically for disabled persons.
    • To curb cuts and ramps between parking areas and buildings.
    • To level access into first floor level with elevator access to all other floors.
    • To fully accessible offices, meeting rooms, bathrooms, public waiting areas, cafeteria, patient treatment areas, including examining rooms and patient units.
  • Your Responsibilities

    As a patient, healthcare agent, or guardian, we ask that you...

    • Provide us with a copy of your Advance Care Plan (Advance Directive).
    • Provide complete and accurate information about your medical history.
    • Tell a doctor or nurse when you feel better or worse, especially if there is a sudden change in how you feel.
    • Work collaboratively with your medical team.
    • Speak up if you have a concern about your safety as a patient.
    • Be considerate of other patients. This includes helping to control noise.
    • Follow the rules of the facility which are designed to keep you, other patients, and visitors safe and comfortable.
    • Not smoke or use tobacco products, including e-Cigarettes (vaping) in our facilities or on our campus. We are a tobacco free campus.
    • Provide accurate information about your insurance or lack of insurance.
    • To make arrangements for payment of your bill to the extent that you can.
  • Voice Your Concerns or Suggestions

    You have the right...

    • To know about resources within Sentara, such as the Patient Advocate, Guest Services, Sentara Promise Line, and the Ethics Committee, which are here to help you resolve problems and to answer questions about your stay and treatment.
      • Call the Sentara Operator or ask your Nurse to contact the Patient Advocate, Guest Services or Ethics Consultant.
    • To know how to file a complaint or grievance: To file a complaint or grievance with Sentara, please contact the Patient Advocate, the Division Administration or call the Sentara Promise Line at 1-800-SENTARA or 1-757-388-4357, TTY/TDD: 711 and a written response will be mailed to you within 7 days of receipt.


    • To file a grievance with the Virginia Department of Health, please contact the Virginia Department of Health Offices of Licensure and Certification at 1-800-955-1819, FAX 1-804- 527-4503, TDD: 1-800-828-1120 or by mail at 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 401, Richmond, VA 23233-1463.
    • To file a grievance with the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation, please contact the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation at 1-800-624-3004 (within NC) or 1-919-855-4500 (outside NC), Fax: 1-919-715-7724,  TDD: 1-800-735-2962 or by mail at Complaint Intake Unit, 2711 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-2711.