If you’ve recently taken on the role of caregiver for a senior loved one, you may feel as if you are drowning in a sea of paperwork. After every physician appointment, your stack of papers climbs higher. Organizing all this important information so it can be accessed easily may feel overwhelming.
The key is to create a system that is easy to maintain and update. That will make you more likely to use it. We have a few tips to help you get started.
Organizing a Parent’s Medical Information
The first step is to sort all your parent’s medical information by topic or category. A few suggestions include:
- Calendar: It’s convenient to store appointments on your cell phone and set reminders. However, documenting time-sensitive details on a physical calendar is important, too. You can identify at a glance when to schedule follow-up appointments and testing.
- Medical history: This category could include your loved one’s patient visit notes from medical appointments, hospital discharge orders, and any health summaries a physician may have provided.
- Test results: While most hospitals and physicians use electronic medical records, not all systems interact with one another. If the older adult sees physicians at several health care institutions, having printed copies of test results can make them easier to share.
- Medication list: At every medical appointment, you’ll likely be asked if any medications have been added or changed since your last visit. Maintaining a comprehensive medication list makes this easier to answer. Include dosage information and the name of the prescribing physician. Don’t forget over-the-counter medications, too. They can impact the effectiveness of prescription drugs or even cause an adverse reaction.
- Family medical history: Another standard practice when seeing a new physician for the first time is a family history review. This helps the physician assess risk factors for hereditary or genetic conditions. Having this information typed up with extra copies to share can save time at each new physician visit.
- Physician contact list: You’ll also want to create a list of your family member’s current and past physicians. Include all pertinent contact information, such as office addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and fax numbers.
How to Store Medical Information
Many families prefer an old-fashioned approach to storing documents. A large three-ring binder with tabs for each category can be quickly set up and easily maintained. If you choose this option, create at least one backup copy to store in a safe, secure location.
There are also a variety of digital solutions for storing important medical information. Most are easy to access and share.
A few medical storage apps you can explore include:
Apps like these are often a good solution for families where multiple siblings are involved in caregiving.
Get to Know Sunrise Senior Living
Planning for the future is important when you are a caregiver for a senior loved one. Getting to know local senior care resources will allow you to create both an emergency back-up plan and a strategy for handling future care needs.
We extend an open invitation to you to visit Sunrise Senior Living. With options ranging from independent and assisted living to memory care and skilled nursing, our communities offer care solutions to meet seniors’ needs. Call us today to schedule a private tour!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living
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