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How to Keep Track of a Senior's Health

By January 21, 2016Aging in Place

For seniors trying to keep track of their own health needs or caregivers doing so for their patients, it can become quite difficult to capture absolutely everything. The basics like medication and meals can easily be remembered, but many other details may be overlooked or forgotten.

A journal or binder filled with personal information, as well as medical documents from doctors and hospitals, can help maintain a senior’s quality of life by ensuring their most important information is safe and organized.

This file might need its own filing cabinet or it may begin as a simple three-ring binder. It is basically a collection of sorted medical information. The file can include the following elements:

  • A journal including notes on their health and for tracking symptoms
  • An updated medication list
  • Copies of test results from hospitals and doctor’s visits
  • Ongoing questions for physician visits
  • Copies of lab results and imaging like blood work and CAT scans
  • When this is prepared correctly and maintained properly, the file can be taken to doctor visits. This improves care by having documentation on hand regarding medications and symptoms. It also increases patient safety. When a senior is her/her own advocate, medical mistakes can be avoided.

    There are times when seniors or their families feel the need to seek a second opinion or perhaps a new doctor entirely. When key information is brought to the very first visit, it can improve care. Doctors are detectives, and providing them with essential health information goes a long way toward helping them to deliver an accurate diagnosis. By providing detailed health information, caregivers and seniors can help to fill care gaps and improve the delivery effective care.

    The days of a personal doctor who knew the entire family are long gone. Today, the more a person pays attention the record of personal health, the greater the chances of ongoing effective health care. Despite electronic health records, facts and figures about an individual’s health will fall through the cracks. Rushed physicians will not remember every detail discussed in previous visits. However, with a complete file on hand, patients can bring reminders to each visit, and ensure that treatments are based on a full, and precise medical history.

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