Tips on Organizing Medical Information for the Elderly
When adult children step in to help their elderly parents manage their lives, there’s a lot of new medical information that needs to be organized and accessible. From prescriptions and home care assistance to health history and current allergies, an elderly parent’s health history needs to be documented and safeguarded. Elderly people have more medical issues than other age groups as they are at a higher risk for illness and injury.
How to Organize Medical Information.
The reason that family caregivers need to keep track of their aging parent’s medical information is because there are many opportunities to share it with health care providers. When changing doctors, seeing a specialist, taking a trip to an urgent care or emergency room or remembering what happened in the past, current medical information can pave the way to the best health care and treatments.
Many family caregivers rely on binders, notebooks or folders for their elderly parent’s medical information. It can be organized into sections using tabs and dividers. Paper records can be photocopied as needed, and it’s easy to take the binder to a doctor or hospital. The downside is that there is no backup in case the papers are lost or damaged.
Caregivers can also keep medical information digital by scanning any paper records and requesting electronic reports and information from clinics and hospitals. Digital information can be emailed to doctors and if hard copies are needed, they can be printed out on demand. It’s also easy to make and keep a backup of all the files in case something happens to the originals. Using a combination of hard copy and digital files, family caregivers can keep medical information safe and organized.
What Medical Information Should Be Saved?
Knowing what medical information should be kept in an elderly parent’s personal health file is important so that only the most relevant details are kept. Otherwise, it would be easy to get buried in paperwork. Here is a list of the information that is most important:
- Personal health history.
- Family health history.
- Lab test results.
- Home care agency services.
- Current and past prescription medication.
- Surgery history.
- Hospital discharge notes.
- Clinic visit notes.
- Insurance paperwork.
- Legal documents like living wills.
No matter how family caregivers decide to save and organize their elderly parent’s medical information, it should be easily accessible and there should always be more than one copy. With rare exception, most medical care for seniors is good, but it’s possible for certain things to be missed from time to time. Allowing doctors to have access to comprehensive medical details for an elderly parent can mean less time going over old info and focusing on a current and effective treatment plan.