While you are in the hospital, you may be faced with a number of decisions. Some may be as simple as choosing your meals from the menu. Others may be more difficult, such as making a decision about an operation. This information has been designed to help you deal with the difficult choices.

Begin by Asking Questions

Cleveland Clinic is a teaching institution and some of the physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers may be in training, gaining valuable experience beyond their basic academic preparation. You should speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about this.

Below, find some frequently asked questions to consider:

What kinds of questions should I ask?

  1. Why is this procedure or treatment necessary?
  2. Are there any other reasonable alternatives?
  3. What can I reasonably anticipate the outcome to be?
  4. What are the major risks involved?
  5. What might happen to me if I do not have the treatment?

What are my rights as a patient?

Cleveland Clinic values the rights of patients to be knowledgeable regarding their decisions related to healthcare. Cleveland Clinic's Patient Rights and Responsibilities statement describes your rights as a patient receiving care as well as your responsibilities as an active participant in your care.

What does informed consent mean?

Informed consent means that you have been given information about your healthcare, you understand it, you have thought about it and you agree to it, whether it be surgery, a procedure or other treatment that is recommended for you. You cannot give meaningful consent unless you are informed and understand the information.