Living with Chronic Pain is frustrating. I think that one of the biggest reasons is because no one can see your pain and you tend to look healthy. Sometimes someone may notice that you look a little tired or that you look like you don’t feel well. When you see someone walking around with a cast on their arm or foot, or you notice someone walking with a cane you know they don’t feel well. With chronic pain, no one can see it. Pain is also unique because your pain is different than anyone else. That is why treating chronic pain can be so difficult especially since no two of us are alike! Even though you have a concern that no one can see doesn’t mean it isn’t real. It also means that you are entitled to the same Patients Rights as everyone else.
Patients Rights refers to a basic set of rules that covers the conduct between the patient (you) and their caregiver. The term caregiver can be a doctor, nurse, a hospital, the doctor’s office or anyone that is associated with your care. Some of these rights are covered by federal law, some are covered by state laws and many healthcare providers have their own. Most of these rights include your right to accept treatment, the right to formulate advance directives, fair treatment to all, copies of your medical records and the infamous informed consent.
An Example of Some Basic Patients Rights
- You have the right to not have to explain everything you do or think
- Everyone has the right to be treated with respect. Keep in mind, you also need to give respect.
- Most people make mistakes and we have that right as well.
- We should feel good about ourselves, especially when we don’t feel well.
- Questions are a good thing to ask, so exercise your right to ask them.
- All of us want different things, so make sure to ask for what you want.
- Express your feelings and make sure they are taken seriously and that the person you are talking to listens to you.
- Information is key to making decisions so ask for additional information if you need it.
- Each of us has their own opinion and each of us has the right to disagree with their caregiver.
- If you don’t want to do something – Say “no” and let yourself off the hook so you do not feel guilty about it.
- I always joke and say that I reserve the right to change my mind.
- Its allowed to do less than you are capable of doing on some occasions.
- Slow down and take the time you need to think before you act.
- Always act in a manner that promotes dignity and self respect.
- Need help, then you need to ask for assistance.
Remember these rights when dealing with your caregivers and when dealing with yourself. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves with our self talk than others often are.