Retention of Health Records
This is applicable to RPNs in independent practice or otherwise storing health records. This information is not legal advice; consult a lawyer if you are unsure of the law.
Registered Psychiatric Nurses, like other health care professionals, can be sued by patients, former patients, their families, or their legal representative(s). If a claim is made against an RPN, it can be helpful for the RPN to have access to the entire patient health record, including clinical, appointment, and financial records (collectively referred to as the “health record”). For RPNs storing health records, it is important to know how long to keep health records. Record retention practices are affected by the time within which a legal claim can be made against an RPN.
RPNs must abide by the CRPNBC Bylaws regarding record retention (Part VI), and any applicable legislation.
The Limitation Act (the “Act”) sets out the time periods within which a lawsuit can be commenced in the civil justice system. The current Limitation Act came into force on June 1, 2013 and the rules apply differently depending on the type of record. An explanation of the Act, including a link to the Act and a video, is available on the Government of BC website.
We recommend that RPNs who are storing health records consult a lawyer for advice regarding the retention of records.