Saturday, November 7, 2009

Taking A Parent To The Doctor? Prepare In Advance.

As our parents age, we may find ourselves accompanying one of them to a doctor visit, or checking one in to a hospital.

Many times the parent will not feel like filling out the long medical forms that are required before the patient can get medical attention, so that duty will fall to you. If you prepare before the need arises, this process will be much easier and quicker.

If the doctor or hospital visits increase, you will always have the information at hand to quickly get through the paperwork and get your parent on the road to recovery a little faster.

You should carry a Medical Facts and History sheet with you at all times for each loved one that you may be assisting. Carrying one for yourself is a good idea as well, since it may be difficult to remember what year you had chicken pox. The information on the Medical Facts and History sheet is taken from the book How To Wage War Against A Flu Pandemic by Debra West -

The Medical Facts and History sheet should include information that may be asked on the medical questionnaires that you will be completing for your parent.

If you have a computer, making this form is relatively easy. Use Microsoft Word or another program to type in the information, then save it for quick updating as the need arises.

The following is information that should be included on the Medical Facts and Information Sheet. You should complete this sheet as if you were the parent (or whoever you are making the sheet for). You will have to get most of the information from your parent, so it should be completed with the parent present.

Full Name (of parent)
Date of Birth
Social Security Number
Current Medical Insurer
Medical Insurance Number
Medicare Membership Number
Name of Family Doctor

List of Medications and doses being taken currently
Current Medical Conditions
List of Procedures and Surgeries, starting with the oldest
List of Illnesses and Diseases, starting with the oldest
Family History (what conditions did parents or siblings have)
Emergency Contacts - Two names and phone numbers

When completed, print a copy of the Medical Facts and Information Sheet and carry it in your wallet or purse. You never know when an emergency might arise and it may be needed.

You could also give a copy to your parent and any trusted family members who may need to take your parents for medical attention.

As insurances or membership numbers changes, be sure and update the sheet. Also you will need to update the sheet as your parent changes medications, undergoes medical treatments or surgeries, or suffers illnesses.

Carrying this information at all times will reduce stress and tension in the waiting room, you and your parent will have one less thing to worry about and your loved one will have a quick and efficient trip to the doctor's office.

Guard this Medical Facts and History sheet as closely as you protect your credit cards, as it contains information that should only be shared with trusted family members.

Photo Credit
Petr Kratochvil

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