If your loved one was in a nursing home and passed away without a will in place, Public Act 97-623 in Illinois state law permits you, as an immediate relative or surviving spouse, to obtain copies of his/her medical records. In almost all other cases, attorney-representation is necessary to obtain copies of your loved one’s medical records, while he/she always has this right under federal law.
The surviving spouse of a deceased nursing home resident can request his/her medical records in writing from the nursing home, assuming that your loved one did not appoint a “health care power of attorney” or formally objected, in writing, to disclosures of his/her records. If the resident did not have a surviving spouse, an adult son or daughter, adult brother or sister, or parent may request the records.
Nursing home residents are permitted under federal law to obtain their medical records from the nursing home, which generally must comply with the request within 24 hours; a fee for photocopies may be necessary. We recommend making these requests in writing and using a confirmed delivery method, and here are some other important guidelines:
- If your mother is a nursing home resident and you are her legal representative, provide paperwork to confirm this;
- Keep copies of your requests for medical records;
- Be sure to ask for complete copies of your loved one’s charts;
- Don’t tell the nursing home why you are requesting the records;
- Some nursing homes are given up to thirty (30) days to respond to your request, so start the process as early as you can.
Nursing homes are responsible for maintaining accurate medical records for their residents for a variety of reasons; they are highly beneficial for loved ones to stay up-to-date on the resident’s condition and can sometimes even provide insight on the origins of an injury or illness. These records are especially valuable when litigation for abuse and neglect is necessary, as they can help shed light on the nursing home’s negligence and how it directly resulted in your loved one being harmed. Always keep copies of all paperwork and documentation related to your loved one’s care in a nursing home, and speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible if your loved one has been abused.
If your loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We are a personal injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.