When elderly relatives accumulate a lot of medical history, it can be difficult for family caregivers to keep everything straight. Because elderly adults are more likely to interact with different doctor and experience health issues, it’s wise to compile all their medical information into one convenient location. That way doctors will have a complete picture of the health history before treating the aging adult.
October is Organize Your Medical Information Month, so it’s an excellent opportunity for family caregivers to tackle this important task. If an elderly person has several caregivers, then the location of the information should also be shared with other family members, home care providers and close friends that may someday need to access it.
What is Included in an Elderly Adult’s Medical Information?
As family caregivers know, seniors have a lot of medical information, test results and paperwork that accumulates with age. It can be very confusing to know what information is important, what documents should be kept and what is not essential. Here are some of the medical documents that family caregivers should include in an elderly person’s file:
- Contact information for doctors and specialists
- Copies of insurance information
- Test results, pathology reports and immunizations
- List of current medications with names and dosages
- Family medical history
- Brief history of past treatments
- Past complications, side effects and allergic reactions
- Details of any surgeries
- Legal documents such as power of attorney
What’s the Best Way to Keep Medical Information Organized?
Family caregivers have plenty of options when it comes to organizing their elderly relative’s medical information. One of the simplest is to create a binder with relevant sections to store papers. Others might use an accordion folder, shoe box or notebook. If it is easy to access, family caregivers and home care providers can use the gathered information as needed. Another option is to make digital files on a laptop or home computer, then protect them with a password.
Who Should Have Access to an Elderly Adult’s Medical Information
An elderly person has the right to privacy when it comes to their medical history. However, when a senior is dependent on others for daily tasks, transportation and more, certain people will need access to that information. Family caregivers can share the information with others who will be spending time with the senior when they aren’t there. In the event of an emergency, the family member or home care provider could communicate important medical details with emergency crews or the doctor.
Because October is Organize Your Medical Information Month, there’s no better time for family caregivers to gather up all the bits and pieces of their loved one’s history and put it in a safe and convenient location.
If you or a loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Pittsburgh PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.
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