Coordinating Care for a Loved One from Afar

Being involved in the care of a loved one can be both rewarding and joyful. Providing love, physical and emotional support along with companionship is a noble thing to do. Some acts of caregiving are easier than others. Coordination of medical care is one of the more challenging tasks. Many caregivers find this aspect time-consuming and frustrating. For example, managing medication refills, follow-up appointments, and post-visit instructions can be overwhelming.

Sometimes a loved one can have difficulty articulating their complex medical history to a new medical team member. The caregiver is often called upon to assist. A chronological document that outlines the loved one’s past medical history can make health appointments much easier in terms of providing medical information efficiently. A computerized document is recommended given the ability to edit /update information. For example, the weight of the loved one may fluctuate. However, not everyone has access to a computer therefore a handwritten history will suffice.

As a layperson knowing what aspect of medical history to document is a challenge. For example, is there a need to document medications the loved one no longer takes? Why are height and weight important? Should every medical appointment be logged are a few questions to consider.

Below is a suggestion of important historical information to consider. If dates of diagnosis are known, include.

·      Name and date of birth

·      Do you know the patient’s height and weight?

·      Do you know important blood relative family health history (any significant medical history such as heart, lung, cancers, mental health disease)?

·      Are you aware of all past surgeries including dates and reasons?

·      Any past hospitalizations? Also to include reasons and dates.

·      Any chronic and ongoing medical history to include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, chronic

pain?

·      What are the current medications and dosages? Include medications recently stopped taking, including supplements and over the counter.

Information contained in the document is meant to be helpful to a medical team member, if there is other information the caregiver believes is important and significant, it should be included.

In sum, a well-written document containing significant medical history can assist a care provider working with the loved one’s medical team. The document is meant to be flexible in that information may be added or sometimes even removed. The document should be taken to each health care appointment.

R&G Medical Legal Solutions, LLC is rolling out a new program related to providing clients with a “Personal Medical Profile”. Please visit our website at www.rngmedcons.com/pmp for more information.