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Tips for Organizing a Medical History

By Kathy Porter

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  • Any special logs such as blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels or symptoms

  • A copy of a health care proxy, advanced directives or living will

  • A power-of-attorney, if one is used

Easy organization

Our system has to be easy to update because, like most caregivers, my family is stretched pretty thin. Here are some tips for collecting and organizing information:
Use a pocket folder or small three-ring binder that will hold several pages. We purchased a multi-page presentation folder with clear pockets from an office supply store.

  • Use a bold color for the cover, such as red or yellow, so that it is easy to distinguish from other papers.

  • Keep the folder in a handy location, such as a desk drawer near the entry.

  • Make sure every potential caregiver knows where it is kept.

  • Label the front boldly and clearly Ė EMERGENCY MEDICAL INFORMATION

  • Use top loading, clear sheet protectors to hold papers. These make it easy to remove papers for photocopying or for handing to a healthcare worker.

  • Pick up a business card from each healthcare provider you see. Cards usually contain the name, specialty, address, phone and fax number.

  • Slip the business cards into vinyl page protectors meant to hold photos, baseball cards or disks. You can find three-ring page protectors like these at craft, hobby, or office supply stores.
  • Each time you make an appointment, take the reminder card or jot the appointment details on a 3X5 card. Slip these cards into a page protector just as you did the business cards.

  • Keep old appointment cards if you donít want to take the trouble of recording visit details elsewhere.

  • When you add any information to a document, put the date at the top of the page to show how current the data is.

  • List an out-of-state emergency contact to be used in case of a widespread disaster.

  • Photocopy important pages and cards and keep them elsewhere for extra protection.
  • Search the Internet. Many Web sites provide blank forms for medical history, medication and other health records.

 

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