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Your rights

In New Zealand, when you use a health or disability service you have rights. The organisations and people who provide those health and disability services have duties.

These rights (10) are clearly set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. These 10 rights are:

1. The right to be treated with respect. This means:

- You have the right to be treated and cared for well
- You should be listened too
- Your beliefs and ideas should be respected
- You have the right to every consideration of privacy, including personal needs. This means that healthcare discussion; consultation, examination and treatment should be conducted so as to protect your privacy. You have the right to expect that all written communications and records about your treatment be treated as strictly confidential, except in cases permitted or required by law, such as suspected abuse or public health hazards. You have the right to be informed about how we will use or share information about you.

2. The right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation. This means you have the right to be treated fairly:

- You should be treated the same as others. Hauora Tairawhiti does not discriminate any person on the basis of age, culture, employment, ethnicity, expression, gender identity, language, national origin, participation in programs, physical or mental disability, race, religion, services and activities, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or treatment. 
- You should not be abused, neglected, harassed or taken advantage of when receiving care and support
- No-one should use your things or take your money without asking you first
- You should not be made to feel you have to do things you don’t want to do
- You have the right 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. A restraint is any intervention by a service provider that limits a patient’s/consumer’s normal freedom of movement without their consent (Restraint Minimisation and Safe Practice Standard NZS 8134.2:2008). An example may be physical such as personal restraint or use of equipment/devices such as putting up the bed sides on a bed or cot, environmental restraint or locked doors.

3. The right to dignity and independence. This means:

- You should be treated in a way that values you as a person
- You should be supported to do as much as you can for yourself

4. The right to services of an appropriate standard. This means:

- All the care and support you receive should be right for you
- You should be provided with good care and support
- You should receive care and support that is safe for you and helps you live a good life

5. The right to effective communication. This means you have the right to be told things in a way you understand:

- You should be spoken to in a way you understand
- People should check that you have understood
- People should use different ways to explain things to you - for example; use pictures write things down use sign language get help from someone who understands you
- You should be able to talk freely, ask questions and be told the truth

6. The right to be fully informed. This means you should be told:

- What is happening to you
- What choices you can make, and the effect of your choices
- When you can expect to receive services
- Results of any tests or treatment
- How much the treatment (if any) will cost you

7. The right to make an informed choice and give informed consent. This means participating in your own care:

- You have the right to participate in decisions regarding your care, treatment and agreement to care.
- You have the right to relevant, current and understandable information concerning your diagnosis, various treatment options, prognosis and costs. One of our most important jobs is keeping you informed.
- You should be supported to make your own choices
- Sometimes other people may help you make your choices
- You have the right to say ‘no’ to receiving care and support
- You may be stopped from making choices that are dangerous or may hurt others
- You can appoint a person to be your enduring power of attorney (such as a partner, close friend or relative) to make healthcare decisions for you or to act on your behalf when you are not competent to do so yourself. The person you choose must be over 20 years of age, and should know you well enough to understand what you would want in a particular situation.

- If you are considering giving someone enduring power of attorney, talk to a lawyer to make sure you are fully informed about what it means.

- If you have one, we recommend that you bring the enduring power of attorney document with you when you receive care and treatment with us.

- You can have an advance directive. This is a written or oral directive (statement) made by a person/consumer making a choice about a possible future health care procedure. The advance directive is made in advance of that treatment (wanted or not wanted) in the event of the person/consumer becoming unwell in the future and is not able to provide the necessary consent to accept or refuse medical treatment. An advance directive can be a good way to gain more control over the treatment and care you are given for example if you experience an episode of mental illness or if you don’t want life sustaining procedures. If you have an advance directive, we recommend that you bring the document with you when you receive care and treatment with us.
- You can have an Advanced Care Plan. 

8. The right to support. This means:

- You can have someone with you when you receive care and support
- You have the right to have your family/whanau or representative, and your personal physician promptly notified of your admission to the hospital.
- You have the right to communicate. If you require an interpreter please let us know so we can help support you with this
- You have the right to spiritual care.

9. Rights in respect of teaching or research. This means:

- You have the right to consent or decline to participate in proposed studies or human experimentation affecting care and treatment.
- You have the right to have studies or research explained to you so you can decide if you want to take part or not.
- If you decide not to participate in research, you are still entitled to medical care of an appropriate standard.

10. The right to complain. This means:

- You can complain if you are not happy with the care and support you receive
- People should tell you what they will do about your complaint and by when
- If they do not help you with your complaint there are other people you can contact

For more information about your rights click on the links below:

www.hdc.org.nz/your-rights/about-the-code/code-of-health-and-disability-services-consumers-rights/

www.advocacy.org.nz

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