Imagine that you’re at work. You return from a meeting to find several messages from your mom’s caregiver. As you listen to them, you sigh with relief—your mom is fine, but the caregiver couldn’t find your mom’s health insurance card.
Making your loved one’s vital information easily available can simplify caregiving. Depending on how much help your parent needs, you may choose to have a folder with medical and emergency information in one place, and make financial and legal information accessible only to primary caregivers.
Keep the folder near a calendar with medical appointments. Although there are many ways you might organize it, one way is to have personal and health information in one pocket and medical insurance documents in the other.
Websites can be an effective way to manage your loved one’s medical information. Numerous Personal Health Record (PHR) providers have sprung up in recent years to help patients consolidate health information.
You can enter a wide range of information into PHRs. Most allow information about allergies and adverse drug reactions, chronic diseases, family history, illnesses and hospitalizations, imaging reports, immunization records, lab results, medications and dosing, surgeries and other procedures, for example.
Some PHRs allow for data to be shared with others, such as doctors. Some are compatible with heart monitors and blood glucose devices, so your loved one can upload vital information that you or a physician can track. PHRs can also let you transfer medical records to and from doctors’ offices and hospitals, and order prescriptions safely and securely.
Financial information and legal documents should be kept as private as possible, yet still be convenient for caregivers who need access to:
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