Office of Student Life

Student Health Services


Patient Guide to Sensitive Exams and Medical Chaperones

We are committed to providing the best possible care, reducing risk to our patients and providers, and educating future healthcare providers. We are dedicated to building on our efforts to acting more thoughtfully, and to creating solutions for a safer, more secure, and more supportive environment. These efforts include expanding education and setting consistent standards for our patients and providers.

The following is educational information on our Chaperone Policy and process.

What is a Medical Chaperone?

To provide a safe and supportive environment, all patients will be offered a Medical Chaperone during a sensitive exam and upon the patient’s request. A Medical Chaperone is a licensed medical professional or trained employee who has many responsibilities. These include observing the exam/treatment/procedure, providing comfort and reassurance to the patient and provider, providing gowns/sheet to ensure privacy, assisting with interpreting instructions, ensuring continuing consent to the exam/treatment/procedure, and/or assisting either the patient or the provider, if needed. The Medical Chaperone shall adhere to all privacy and confidentiality expectations. A Medical Chaperone does not need to be present throughout a patient’s visit with their provider (such as when discussion of health history is being gathered or when the patient wants to have a private conversation with their provider).

We will make every effort to ensure the Medical Chaperone is the gender the patient is most comfortable with. Please notify a staff member if you would like to have a Medical Chaperone present during your exam. Unless declined by a patient, a Medical Chaperone should always be present during sensitive exams, treatments, and procedures. 

What is a Sensitive Exam?

Providers will always provide an explanation of any exam, treatment, or procedure that is planned for the visit and will seek your informed consent to proceed. A sensitive exam, treatment, or procedure includes, but is not limited to, an exam, evaluation, palpation, physical therapy for, placement of instruments in, or exposure of:

  • Genitalia
  • Rectum
  • Breast

In addition to sensitive exams, a patient or their caregiver may request a Medical Chaperone for any exam. Patients have the right to immediately terminate the exam at any time. If you become uncomfortable for any reason during an exam, tell the provider immediately. If you have questions or concerns about any part of an exam do not hesitate to ask these questions right away. 

Declining a Medical Chaperone

If a patient or their caregiver declines the presence of a Medical Chaperone and the provider is uncomfortable proceeding, a conversation between the patient and provider regarding the purpose of a Medical Chaperone should occur. If the patient still declines, the provider may postpone the exam or reschedule the patient visit for another time or with a different provider.


Concerns or violation of the chaperone policy can be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity at 614-247-5838 or online at The Office of Institutional Equity exists to help the Ohio State community prevent and respond to all forms of protected class harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct.