Patient Right To Refuse Room Change ?

  1. Do pt.'s in a in a hospital setting have the right to refuse a room change ? I work on a busy med/surg floor. We were getting two new admits. I was to transfer one of my patients to another room. She was upset and crying, she didn't want to change rooms. The family was also there and were upset this was the second room change in a week. I advocated for her stating she had the right to make a long story short the supervisor ripped me a new one and yelled in my face...."This is a hospital, they don't have the right to refuse a room change." Legal opinions on the subject ? Was that a wrong call on my part ?
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    About ruger71

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 4
    from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience


  3. by   Okami_CCRN
    If I were in your position, I would have informed your charge nurse that your patient was very upset about the pending room change and ask him/her to speak with the patient and family about the room change. If that did not go over well then I would have informed the nursing supervisor.

    Where I work usually the nursing supervisor will side with the family/patient, as much as I hate to say it customer service is key...
  4. by   dah doh
    Why the room change? Is it "staffing", then pick someone else. Are you closing fown an area? Are they "graduating" to less acute area? Sometimes it's how you tell them that makes all the difference too!
  5. by   Nurseadam
    Maybe they're upset, but you need to calm the patient down and tell her that rooms are all the same.
    like your supervisor says, it's a hospital, they don't have the right to refuse room change.
  6. by   OCNRN63
    I can understand why the patient was upset; when you're sick the last thing you want to have to do is be jostled around, esp. if you've had surgery. Two room changes in a week is a bit much. I think you were right to advocate for your patient and it was inappropriate for your supervisor to yell at you.
  7. by   loriangel14
    I don't think there is a "legal" aspect to the issue.Where I work they would have had to move unless there was a really dire reason why not.Just being upset wouldn't cut it.
  8. by   KelRN215
    No, patients do not have a "right" to refuse a room change no matter how much as they think they do. When I worked in the hospital, we once had to have security and the Nursing Supervisor come to the floor because a patient's family attempted to refuse a room change. It was our room which doubled as our comfort care room... a dying patient was being admitted and needed that room. The patient being moved out of it just didn't want to move into a double room. There's not a hospitalized American patient out there who doesn't have a list of 17,000 reasons why they are entitled to a private room over anyone else. (I say American because I noticed when I worked in the hospital that patients from other countries- mainly underdeveloped ones- didn't mind nearly as much. I recall having to put an admission in with a patient in the middle of the night, the family was from India. The charge nurse apologized to the father for interrupting their sleep and giving them a roommate so late and his response was "This is a hospital, we expect to have a roommate.") My favorite excuse for people trying to refuse double rooms when I worked in the hospital was "but she just had brrrrrrraaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnn surgery." Well, guess what? This is the Neurosurgery floor, so did everyone else here.

    I've never known a Charge Nurse to decide on room changes just for the heck of it... if rooms are being changed it's for a reason. Say you have 2 double rooms... they're both filled with female patients. One patient from each room is discharged and now you have 2 open beds which are your only 2 open beds on the entire floor. Then 2 males need to be admitted to the floor... what do you do? Your only option is to move one of the female patients into the room with the other so they are now roommates and then put both admissions in the same room. You have one negative pressure room on the floor and have to admit a patient with suspected measles. The patient who is currently in that room does not require a private room- no choice, they have to move.
  9. by   JBudd
    The only option I can think of that you might have asked the super about, was could the pt who was getting a new roommate (not the upset one, but the one she was moving in with) have moved instead? Since this was the 2nd time she was being moved?

    But no, this is not a hotel where you can turn down a room, hospitals have to balance everyone. I hated moving people in the middle of the night, but we did it.
  10. by   K+MgSO4
    No, no choice. If you need a single room for isolation or a pt that is dying out you get. And I know you have just.had. has every other person on the ward.

    Or a pt under police gaurd. Not putting them in a share room.
  11. by   anotherone
    i hate double rooms. HATE. but sometimes there is only one airborne room and you need that one or the bigger room to accomidate the guards and prisioners or a comfort measures only pt. p
  12. by   K+MgSO4
    Lol public hospitals in Ireland still have 6 bed wards. Some people who know the system get worried when they get a single room they think that they either have an infection or are dying!

    The public hospital I work at in Australia has triples.

    Just a quick hijack.........sorry!
  13. by   jadelpn
    .....OR they have the option of bringing the patient home and hiring private duty nurses....

    Room changes generally are not made because staff is bored and want to play musical beds. But I would defer this to the charge nurse to explain to the patient.

    (And kudos to the cleaning crew who then has to clean and re-clean....worth their weight in gold!)
  14. by   KelRN215
    Quote from K+MgSO4
    Lol public hospitals in Ireland still have 6 bed wards. Some people who know the system get worried when they get a single room they think that they either have an infection or are dying!

    The public hospital I work at in Australia has triples.

    Just a quick hijack.........sorry!
    I heard this same kind of thing from a colleague who moved to Israel. She went to do Pedi Heme/Onc over there and said people didn't want to be in private rooms because it reminded them of being in isolation during stem cell transplant.

    I've done some work in developing countries... In Nicaragua, the public hospital we toured had ten to a room easily and the "beds" were stretchers. In Tanzania, the private hospital I volunteered at had 4-6 to a room minimum. The public hospital had people sharing beds. I also had a colleague who'd done missionary work in Africa in a pediatric hospital and she said there it was 2 to a bed and the parents slept on the floor.