October is Residents’ Rights month, a month that Long-Term Care Ombudsmen have been celebrating since 1981 when Residents’ Rights was a week long event. We have a lot to celebrate here in Kentucky, there are over 34,000 residents in long-term care facilities across the state and during this month we celebrate their right to be fully informed! We often hear how challenging it is for families and nursing home residents to access their medical records from facilities. Accessing your medical records is vital in advocating for quality care for residents. Residents and their legal representatives have the right to access all records pertaining to their care, including current clinical records, within 48 hours of oral or written request (this excludes weekends and holidays). Residents also have the right to purchase additional photocopies of their medical records. To receive a copy of your medical record, you must submit a written request to the facility. A facility must provide a copy of your records within 48 hours of receiving your written request. Some nursing homes have their own form for you to fill out, but they should honor a letter. In your letter, include a clear statement requesting the records and instructions on how they should get them to you. Will you pick them up at the facility and if so, what time will you be there? Don’t forget to sign and date your letter! The residents’ right to their records is just one of the many residents’ rights we celebrate every October. If you or a loved one are having difficulties accessing medical records from a nursing home call me for help at 859-277-9215.
Jodi Holsclaw, Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman