November 9, 2023

Reminder: Refusal of Care Policy effective Nov. 15

Although patients and families have a right to refuse care, this right does not outweigh our employees’ right to work in an environment free of racism, bias, and discrimination.

That’s the impetus of a new refusal of care policy and standard operating procedure that becomes effective Nov. 15. The policy applies to the hospitals and clinics on the Nashville campus and surrounding areas. A policy and SOP for the regional hospitals will launch at a later date.

The new policy and SOP help employees understand what to do when a patient or family member refuses care or service based on an employee’s personal attributes, such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Training is beginning for impacted audiences, including employees who work in patient-facing roles, their local leaders, and senior leaders who can intervene if an escalation is necessary. This training details the steps employees should take if they experience or observe a refusal of care event.

The SOP and training help employees understand what to do in these situations. They detail employees’ rights and choices when experiencing such an event and options for getting support for their own well-being.

The new documents also provide detail on how to address the situation if the event requires action under Vanderbilt Health’s workplace violence policy.