Rights & Responsibilities

Your Rights

At Northwestern Medicine Proton Center, we seek to provide exceptional care and the best possible experience for our patients and their family members. We are committed to delivering quality health care consistent with your clinical needs. You can help us make your healthcare experience safe by being an active, involved and informed partner of your healthcare team.

Northwestern Medicine Proton Center is made up a community of caregivers that welcomes, respects and serves all people without regard to age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, Vietnam or other veteran status or any other status protected by relevant law.

As our patient, you have the right to:


  • Receive appropriate medical care without discrimination
  • Contact and speak with the physicians ordering your care
  • Communicate and receive a timely response to your complaints by contacting the Patient Relations department without fear of reprisal
  • Access protective services

Respect and dignity

  • Be treated as an individual, with unique needs and desires
  • Receive courteous and respectful care free of unnecessary restraints or seclusion and free from all forms of abuse and harassment
  • Be assured of the confidentiality of your medical information
  • Have your personal privacy respected
  • Make informed choices about your care and treatment including the decision to refuse treatment
  • Complete an advance directive/living will and have your stated wishes followed
  • Have your symptoms treated in the event of a life-limiting illness: We will work with you to prevent or manage pain and discomfort, and you and your family will receive support for your concerns related to dying and grief

Coordination of care

  • Know who is in charge of your care
  • Know the identity of your physicians and your caregivers
>>If you do not understand something, please ask. You have the right to know.<<


Physical comfort

  • Be cared for in an environment that is healing, clean and safe
  • Receive a timely response to your pain with the goal of maximizing your comfort

Emotional support

  • Express concerns, be listened to and receive an appropriate response without fear of reprisal
  • Have your spiritual needs respected

Information, education and communication

  • Participate in discussions, understand and ask questions about your diagnosis, treatment, care plan and discharge
  • Read carefully and make sure you understand any form before signing
  • Be given complete and current information about your condition, course of treatments and outcomes of care, including unanticipated outcomes, in a manner that you can understand
  • Know the potential risks and benefits of procedures and treatments
  • Receive an itemized bill and an explanation of charges in a manner that you can understand
  • Receive a copy of your medical record; your nurse can assist you or you can contact

Medical Records after you have been discharged

  • Receive effective communication (patient or patient companion) through a confidential language or American Sign Language interpreter at no cost to you. We also provide support aids for the deaf and hard of hearing including TTYs, television closed captioning and writing supplies. All language assistance services are confidential and available at no cost to you. Please notify staff if you need communication assistance.
  • Know about any proposed clinical trials (research) affecting your care or treatment; you have the right to refuse to take part in such research, and if you do refuse, this will not affect your access to ongoing care
  • Access the Medical Ethics Committee to aid you in exploring options and issues in making healthcare decisions

Involvement of family and friends

  • Be given the option of having a family member, family physician or friend notified of your admission
  • Involve family members and friends in your care when it is safe and possible transition and continuity of care
  • Have access to people outside the hospital, whether through visitors, verbal contact or written contact, including private phone conversations as appropriate to the clinical setting
  • We will provide evaluation, treatment and referral as needed; if we cannot meet your needs, or if you request a transfer, we will assist with a transfer
  • Receive continuity and consistency of care within our hospitals

Nurse staffing and staff training

In accordance with the Illinois Department of Public Health Hospital Report Card Act, the public has a right to access nurse staffing and staff training information. Requests for information regarding nurse staffing or staff training may be directed to any clinical director, nursing supervisor or the Patient Care Services staffing office.

Your Responsibilities

As a partner of our healthcare team, we ask that you:
  • Provide complete and accurate information about your current and past state of health, including past illnesses, hospitalizations and the medications you are taking
  • Tell us if you think there may be a problem with your care
  • Talk to us about your pain and options for minimizing it
  • Ask questions when you do not understand what we are saying or asking you to do
  • Follow the treatment plan that you developed with your caregivers
  • Accept responsibility for your health outcome if you choose not to follow your treatment plan
  • Assist our health system in providing a safe environment by sharing your observations if you perceive unsafe conditions or practices
  • Show respect and consideration for your caregivers and other patients and families by controlling noise and disturbances, refraining from smoking and respecting others’ property
  • Provide information about insurance or other sources of payment for your care; emergency services will not be delayed while we are waiting for such information
  • Meet all financial obligations you have agreed to with Northwestern Medicine Proton Center
  • Respect that we are an equal opportunity employer and that we reserve the right to assign a competent caregiver with skills that match your clinical needs; it is our policy that employees and their work environment be free from all forms of discrimination and harassment
  • Leave valuables at home and bring only necessary items for your treatment and/or your appointment (we are not responsible for lost valuables)
  • Do not bring the following items to the Proton Center or office: alcohol, tobacco products, weapons or any illegal substances; we reserve the right to have our security staff search patient/visitor belongings and patient rooms; if possible, we will let you know before any search is conducted
  • Present a copy of a living will and/or healthcare power of attorney to the Proton Center for advance directives to be honored

If You Have Concerns

We encourage you to let us know how we can serve you better. Most of your concerns can be handled by talking with your physician or caregivers. If you would like additional assistance, please contact Patient Relations by calling 630.933.5100.

Grievance process

If you are not satisfied with the response from Patient Relations regarding your concern, you may file an appeal through the Northwestern Medicine grievance process. In compliance with federal law, our grievance process provides the opportunity for all patients to express their concerns about the quality of care, language-assistance services or premature discharge. We take your concerns seriously and strive for the timely investigation and resolution of all patient grievances.

To file a grievance, please contact the Patient Relations Department at 630.933.5100. While most grievances can be resolved directly with Patient Relations, the department 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 agencies are:

  • Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Health Care Regulation 525 West Jefferson Street, Ground Floor Springfield, IL 62761-0001
    217.524.8885 fax
    TTY 800.547.0466
  • The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring One Renaissance Boulevard Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    630.792.5636 fax

Medical ethics consultation

Our Medical Ethics Committee is available if you have difficult decisions to make or are facing a healthcare dilemma or situation where issues of human dignity and respect need to be addressed. To request a consultation, please speak to your caregiver.