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Frequently asked patient rights questions answered

There is arguably no time a patient feels more vulnerable than when they are feeling ill, facing surgery or dealing with a difficult diagnosis. These are a few commonly asked patient questions.

Hospital billing

Q: What does hospital billing cover?
A: When a patient receives a bill after a hospital stay, it’s usually only for the time spent in hospital. All of the following specialists will bill separately:

  • doctors
  • anaesthetists
  • radiologists
  • pathologists (laboratories)
  • physiotherapists

Q: What is value-based care?
A: Instead of being billed separately by a number of different specialists, for example if the patient has a joint replacement, payment is bundled. This results in improved patient care and clinical outcomes, and is more cost-effective.

Infection prevention

Q: What is infection prevention in a hospital setting?
A: The easiest and most effective method of preventing the transfer of bacteria that everyone can practise in healthcare settings is appropriate hand hygiene. All healthcare workers, patients and hospital visitors should adhere to the highest standards of hand hygiene.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, respiratory and hand hygiene, as well as social distancing have been prioritised to ensure patient safety. Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of infection prevention and patient safety, and while this is vital in our healthcare facilities, it is equally important at home, work and in the community. Hygiene measures are all-important yet often undervalued.

Q: Will I be tested for COVID-19 if I am admitted to a hospital?
A: If a person is admitted to a Life Healthcare hospital, they will be tested for COVID-19 and will be a patient under investigation (PUI) until their test comes back negative. The patient will then be transferred to a ward where treatment and care will continue. 

Patient rights

Q: How can I be more involved in my care and treatment?
A: It is important to participate in your own care. Doctors, nurses and any allied professionals (physiotherapists or occupational therapists) welcome your involvement because it can result in better clinical outcomes and recovery. Here are a few tips:

  • Take part in all decisions and discussions about your treatment.
  • If you have advanced directives like a living will, make sure your doctor has a copy.
  • Be clear about any special needs or requirements that will make you feel more comfortable.
  • If you have a friend or family member you trust, take them along to a visit and have them take notes so you can focus on being present in the discussion.
  • Remember that the primary objective of your treatment team is to provide you with the most effective care.

Q: If I am admitted to a Life Mental Health facility, who will have access to my information?
A: All Life Healthcare patients are protected by the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), and as such all the information in your patient file is confidential and may not be divulged to anyone outside of your treatment team without your permission.

If you require copies of your medical information, you will need to submit a written application to your psychiatrist or the nursing unit manager, as there are legal documents required.

It is important that a patient understands their rights and responsibilities and feels empowered to exercise them. Asking questions is integral to that process. Read more patient FAQs and if you have a question that has not been answered, please contact us through our Contact us page and we would be happy to assist.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE. Life Healthcare Group Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided.