If you, or someone you love, take medication on a regular basis, you know that it can be difficult to always remember: when to take it, and not take it; whether to eat with it, before it or after it; what days, if any, to skip, and when to get it refilled, or not!
My sister, brother and I had the privilege of helping our parents later in life and I was amazed at all the things my parents kept track of on a daily basis. What I learned during this time was this: I needed a system to keep track of everything if I wanted to help - prescriptions, doctors and daily care routines - because I, unlike them, could not trust my memory to remember everything!
Anyone that has worked on a project with me knows that I love charts! I use charts to keep track of everything. So of course I turned to charts for this.
- A chart to keep track of medications: who prescribed it, when, why, how much & how long.
- A chart of all doctors: names, addresses, phone numbers, emails and specialty.
- A chart of daily care routines: when to check blood sugar, when to eat meals, etc.
I used the internet, and my fathers medical books, to look up medications, treatments and recommended care that I was unfamiliar with. My sister, brother and I were all very involved in our parent's care and constantly conferred with each other, looked up information to share, and made revisions to the charts, which were carried to doctor's appointments. We were also integrating more natural medicine into their care so there was more to learn and convey..
It took a while to create all of the charts, and the charts were always changing with new information, but once they were populated, they became invaluable. Their doctors appreciated such complete medication lists (all doctors ask at every appointment "is there any change to your medication list?". We handed them the list and they could compare it to their records. No trying to remember, no guessing, just accurate, up-to-date information! The same was true when they went to new doctors. They got the medication list (which was always dated) and doctor list so they had a good overview of our parents medical needs.
Excel and Word are good apps to use to create charts that can be updated easily. You can store these documents on your phone or in email to pull up whenever necessary. You may want to keep a printed copy with you - some doctor's offices won't accept emails with attachments because of fear of a virus. Others embrace technology and are further advanced.
As health issues become more complex, it's important that everyone involved in your care are all on the same page regarding medications and routines, and that your doctors are conferring with each other when necessary. Don't forget to use the "health" app on your phone to store life-saving medical information for first responders to use. Make sure you note if you're diabetic, have any allergies, your blood type, etc.
I am now working on organizing my own medical information. Every time I go to a new doctor (or a doctor I haven't seen in awhile), they ask me all the same questions over and over. It can be frustrating as I spend time trying to remember everything! Organize your medical information before you need it....it's the best time to do it!
Take Away: Keep all of the documents that your doctor gives you and file them by date. You may need to go back to them at some point. Add new medications to your list as soon as they're prescribed, take off old ones and update any changed information. Keep a copy with you - either on your phone, in email and/or a paper copy. Note any allergies or other life threatening conditions on your phone for first responders. If you're helping to care for others - those living with you or from a distance - help them to organize their medical information too! Tomorrow let's discuss something that we love ... our collections! About the Author: L. Sidney Irving is the owner of Sidco Properties, a real estate company dedicated to educating and assisting those that want to buy or sell a home, Sidney loves to organize herself and those around her because she believes that an organized space brings peace and fosters creativity. May the power of organization be with you!