Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Common Themes in Patients’ Charters of Rights

Various jurisdictions across the world have adopted charters of rights for patients as part of the increasing focus on person- and family-centred care. These charters outline what individuals who access the health system and its services can expect from the system and from health-care providers. These charters also outline patients’ responsibilities related to accessing care.

Themes commonly found in patient charters include:

  • The right to be treated with respect and dignity;
  • The right to confidentiality and privacy in respect of their health information;
  • The right to make informed decisions about their care and treatment options;
  • The right to have all of their circumstances taken into account in care and wellness planning;
  • The right to effective communication in order to facilitate their understanding of care and treatment options;
  • The right to access information in a timely and reasonable manner; and
  • The right to voice their concerns and to receive a timely response


In addition to the rights outlined above, a number of patient responsibilities are commonly found in charters. Patients are commonly expected to:

  • Respect the rights of other patients and of health-care providers;
  • Ensure they understand the information provided by health-care providers (e.g., by asking questions, following instructions, and understanding and following their care plan);
  • Use health-care services appropriately and wisely;
  • Learn how to access health-care services and use them appropriately; and

Make healthy choices, where possible

Person and Family Centred Care
Client and Family Education