SB1606: Oregon Support Person Legislation

Implications for Patients & Families

It is important for patients and their families to be aware of SB 1606, the state legislation that provides a right to support persons to certain patients during their care in an Oregon hospital. A patient who needs assistance communicating with hospital staff, assistance in making medical decisions or needs help with daily activities due to a disability may designate at least three support persons. At least one support person can be with the patient at all times in the emergency department and during the hospital stay, if necessary to facilitate the patient’s care. The Oregon Health Authority will evaluate hospital compliance with requirements related to support persons.

Important elements of Oregon’s Support Person Law that you should know:

  • Some patients with a disability have a right under the law to designate support persons and have a support person with them in the hospital.
  • Unless a patient states otherwise, a hospital must make sure that a support person is present for any conversation where the patient is electing hospice care or to sign advanced planning forms, like an advanced directive.
  • A hospital can require a support person to follow hospital safety protocols. Ex. wearing personal protective equipment and restrict physical access if they are sick or have flu like symptoms.

If you have a concern about your care, please bring it to the attention of your nurse, a nurse leader or a patient advocate in this hospital.

Please give the hospital the opportunity to help resolve your concern about access to a support person and/or patient care. Ask to talk with the unit/department’s nurse manager if you have questions or concerns.

Oregon Health Authority: You may contact the Oregon Health Authority, Health Care Regulation and Quality Improvement division, at 971-673-0540.