“Please arrive 15 minutes early to complete some intake paperwork.” Anyone who has been to a medical appointment knows exactly what I am talking about. If you are like most people, you didn’t pull out your medical binder to reference. Instead, when listing your surgeries, you found yourself counting the years on your fingers. Was it 2015 or 2014?
A natural progression of aging is declining health. This can include memory loss, deteriorating vision and hearing. With this comes running the roads to many health care appointments. Everyone from the physiotherapists to the family doctor and specialists. It can become time-consuming, tiring and overwhelming. Not to mention confusion.
In a perfect world, we would have electronic patient records shared across health care providers. Despite many advances in digital tools, our healthcare system is not quite there yet. This means it’s your responsibility as the patient or caregiver to know and keep personal health information and records.
This does sound like an extremely daunting task. And that’s why I am providing you with 10 ideas to get you started. It is important that you take on the responsibility of being organized. This means starting a medical binder that will hold your crucial medical information.
Here are 10 items that you will want to include in your medical binder.
1. A log of your healthcare appointments. Date, time, place, name of the heathcare provider and treatment received.
2. A contact list of all healthcare providers. Name, address, phone number, fax, email.
3. A list of medication. Include date prescribed, dosage and date completed. Your pharmacy may be able to provide you with a printed list.
4. Vital health information. Blood type, allergies, health card number, insurance provider/contact.
5. Vaccination records. Date, place, type: annual flu shot, COVID-19, pneumococcal, shingles etc.
6. Surgical history. What, when, where, why, who (performed the surgery). Be sure to include any extra notes, such as recovery time or complications.
7. Vitals tracker. A regular record of your heart rate, blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels etc.
8. Daily log of your symptoms. Include frequency, time, duration, intensity, location. Any information that could be helpful to your healthcare provider.
9. Copies of important test results. Referring physician don’t always forward all the pertinent information. Ask for a printout to have on hand.
10. Referrals to alternative healthcare providers. This includes physiotherapy, massage, or chiropractor. Your insurance provider will want a copy to apply for your benefits.
11. BONUS! A list of your questions and concerns. Whenever questions come to mind jot them down so that you are ready for your appointment.
While this may seem like a lot to include, start working through the list one item at a time. Carry the medical binder with you to all appointments. Get in the habit of filling in any applicable information before you leave the building. Your medical binder will save you time, effort and energy, and could be a lifesaver during a medical emergency. If you need help starting your medical binder or transitioning to a new health diagnosis please reach out. Let’s discuss the challenges you are facing.