St. Louis Children’s Hospital cares about the rights of its patients and families. The information outlined here serves to inform you of these rights, and helps guide hospital staff to ensure all children and parents have their rights supported.

Patient Rights

You and yours refer to the patient or, if the patient is a minor, the parent/guardian acting on the behalf of the minor patient. Every patient has the right to participate in the development and implementation of his or her plan of care. Specifically, the right:

  • To be told about your care. All information relating to your care will be communicated in terms that you can understand. When it is not medically advisable to provide information to the patient, the information will be made available to a legally authorized individual. You have the right to review your medical record. You have the right to know the professional credentials of the people taking care of you. You may not be transferred to another hospital unless the need for and options to such a transfer have been explained to you. You will be told of any options, such as home care, when hospital care is no longer needed. Staff will also help you and your family in planning to leave the hospital.
  • To have a family member or your family doctor told of your admission to the hospital. We will make every effort to tell a family member or your family doctor of your admission to the hospital, unless you request that this not be done. You have the right to receive visitors you designate including, but not limited to a spouse, domestic partner, another family member or a friend regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. You have the right to withdraw or deny visitation privileges based on your preferences.
  • To make decisions about your care. St. Louis Children’s Hospital respects your right to make decisions about your care. You have the right to receive information to help you fully understand your diagnosis, treatment(s) and prognosis. Talk over concerns with your doctor and family. You may refuse care, treatment and services in accordance with law. If you decide to say “no” to a treatment or procedure, think about your decision carefully so that you understand the full effect on your health.
  • Your right to complain. You have the right to complain about concerns that you have during your stay at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The hospital will make every effort to resolve any concerns reported and uses all reports as opportunities to improve the care/service provided. Everyone, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability will have access to accommodations or treatment that is available and medically indicated. If you feel you have been discriminated against due to age, race, creed, sex or national origin, you have the right to file a complaint, which the hospital will investigate.

To file a complaint with the hospital please use one of the following processes:

  1. Contact a staff member and voice your concerns.
  2. Submit your complaint in writing to:
    Patient Relations Department
    St. Louis Children’s Hospital
    One Children’s Place, MS 90-49-001
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  3. Contact Us (Select "Concerns with my experience" as your area of interest)
  4. Call The Patient Relations Department at 314-273-8693 to report a complaint.

The hospital will acknowledge your complaint by mailing a letter to you within three days of receiving your complaint. All complaints will be addressed as quickly as possible. After investigating the complaint, the hospital will provide you with a written response addressing your complaint.

This written response will be mailed within 21 calendar days. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, please contact the Patient Relations Department at 314-273-8693

In addition to the internal complaint processes available to you, external complaint processes are also available through the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and Joint Commission. To contact these organizations, call or write:

  1. Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Bureau of Health Facility Regulation
    PO Box 570
    Jefferson City, MO 65102
  2. Joint Commission
    One Renaissance Boulevard 
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 
  • Your right to be informed about research. You will be informed of any human experimentation or research project that may affect your care or treatment, and you have the right to refuse participation in any such activity.
  • Your right to have pain relief addressed. We will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible during your hospital stay, including ensuring that you receive pain relief that is right for your condition.
  • Your right to be free of abuse, neglect or exploitation from staff. At all times and under all circumstances, care will be given in a respectful and considerate manner with an appreciation for your personal dignity.
  • Your right to confidentiality of clinical records. You have the right to expect the discussion of your illness, any exam or treatment, will take place in a private manner. You may refuse to talk to or see anyone not directly involved in your care.
  • Your right to receive care in a safe setting. You have the right to feel safe during your stay at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. You have the right to request a room transfer if you share your room with another person who seriously disturbs you. Based on patient care needs and room availability, we will do everything possible to accommodate you.
  • Your right to ask for information about your hospital bills. You have the right to an explanation of your hospital bills. If you have questions please call our patient accounts department at 877.286.0083 for assistance.
  • Your right to be free of restraints or seclusion not medically necessary. You have the right to be free from physical or mental abuse. Physical restraints, drugs and seclusion that limit movement or behavior will only be used when necessary and never as coercion, discipline or convenience to rendering health care services.
  • Your right to formulate an Advance Directive and/or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare if you are 18 years of age or older. It is wise to think about who you would like to speak for you if you were unconscious or otherwise unable to speak for yourself. It is important that you let your doctor, other staff and your family and friends know whom you have chosen to be your spokesperson(s). It is also important that you discuss your health care wishes with this/these person(s), so they may carry them out should you be unable to speak for yourself. You have the right to prepare a written document if you so choose. A written document, which expresses your wishes regarding accepting or refusing stated treatments or ending life- prolonging treatment, is called a living will or health care directive. Your family, doctors and hospital staff would refer to this document if you were unable to tell them your wishes. You might like to choose someone to speak for you by completing a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Again, be sure to talk with the person holding your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare regarding your values particularly about end of life issues.
  • Decisions about care, treatment and services or the cessation of such care, treatment or services. If you or your caregivers would like assistance, you may request help from the Medical Ethics Committee by contacting the hospital operator at 314.454.6000 and asking for the ethics member on call.

Patient Responsibilities

Effective care and treatment requires your involvement and participation. We believe the following areas are important patient responsibilities.

  • Your responsibility to provide correct information. Providing us with information that, to the best of your knowledge, is accurate and complete about all matters relating to your health. Report sudden changes in your condition to the responsible practitioner. Report whether you clearly understand a potential treatment or other procedure and what is expected of you during such care.
  • Your responsibility to respect others and follow hospital rules. You are responsible for following hospital rules and regulations affecting your care and conduct. You are responsible for being considerate of the rights of other patients and hospital personnel and for assisting in the control of noise and the number of visitors you have while in the hospital. You are responsible for being respectful of the property of other persons and of the hospital.
  • Your responsibility to ask questions. Tell hospital staff about your concerns. If you do not understand what you have been told or are expected to do, ask staff to explain it in a way that is clear to you. Write down facts about your condition and any questions you may have.
  • Your responsibility to follow instructions. You are responsible for your own actions if you do not follow the instructions given for your care, service or treatment plan. Alert hospital staff to anything that could prevent you from learning, such as problems with reading, hearing, language or memory. Let staff know if pain, anxiety, cultural or religious beliefs will prevent you from following instructions.
  • You must help manage your pain. Ask your doctor or nurse what to expect regarding pain and discuss pain relief options. Ask for pain relief when pain first begins. Help your doctor or nurse assess your pain and tell them if the pain is not relieved. Tell your doctor and nurse about any worries you have about taking pain medication.
  • Your responsibility to speak up if you feel at risk for harm. Speak up if something does not seem right! You know your child best. We invite you to: tell us if something doesn’t look or feel right. Provide us with a list of current medications, the dosages and how often they are taken. Ask questions and get answers that you understand. Expect staff to:
    • Introduce themselves and explain what they are doing and why.
    • Check your child’s identification wristband frequently.
    • Ask about possible allergies and medication reactions.
    • Wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.
    • Find ways to help maximize comfort and minimize pain.
    • Review with you what procedures or operations are planned.
    • Put the word “yes” on your child’s skin to mark where an operation will be done.
    • Help resolve any concerns.
  • Your responsibility to help plan your discharge. You are responsible for following the treatment plan agreed upon with your physician or practitioner including the nurses and other healthcare staff carrying out the orders and treatment plan. You are responsible for keeping appointments or, when not able to do so, for notifying the practitioner in charge.