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Avera St. Luke's Mental Health Unit Explains Patient Rights

Know your rights as a patient

Any person in Avera St. Luke’s, if qualified and competent, shall have the right to:

  • Refuse electric shock, insulin shock, psycho-surgery; to participate in any research projects, to work for the institution, or to be photographed or fingerprinted.
  • Remain silent and to have their privacy and dignity respected at all times.
  • Access toilet facilities upon request; access their own money unless a conservator has been appointed; keep as much money in their possession as deemed necessary, and purchase personal articles such as variety store items.
  • Receive any visitors during regular visiting hours; send and receive uncensored and unopened mail; have access to a telephone between the hours of 9 AM and 8 PM. Local calls shall be allowed without charge and the person shall be allowed long distance calls if able to pay for them or can charge them to another number.
  • Wear their own clothes, keep their own toilet articles and have adequate storage for their personal effects.
  • Attend religious services on a voluntary basis in accordance with their needs, desires, and capabilities, and also in accordance with their basic right of freedom of religion.
  • Be deemed competent to manage their affairs (not withstanding any other provision of law); to contract, to hold professional occupational or vehicle operators licenses; to marry and obtain a divorce; to register to vote or to make a will. These rights will not be waived solely by reason of admission or commitment to a designated mental health facility.
  • Be able to communicate with their private physician or attorney without limitations.
  • Expect confidentiality regarding information in the record and other information acquired in the course of providing mental health services.

Certain limitations may be placed on these rights if hospital personnel feels that having the rights could be harmful to you or other patients. If your rights are limited, it will be documented in your records and approved by the administrator or their designee. In addition to your patient rights, you will also be expected to respect all hospital policies.  

If you have any questions regarding your rights as described above, feel free to discuss the matter with your physician, the nursing coordinator, or our Mental Health Unit director. If you have additional concerns, you may contact South Dakota Advocacy Services.

Contact Avera St. Luke's Behavioral Health Services at 605-622-5552.