How to Organize a Parent’s Health Information

How to Organize a Parent’s Health Information

Are you concerned about the day you’ll have to take over full management of your aging parent’s health care management? Are you a member of the sandwich generation and already strapped for time?
If you’re already drowning in a sea of paperwork, kids’ school papers, household bills, and work tasks, adding one more responsibility may seem like a daunting task.

But if you spend a few hours upfront helping your parent organize their health information, you’ll find that day-to-day management doesn’t take much time at all. And, if the day comes that you must make some tough medical decisions on behalf of an aging parent, you’ll have laid the groundwork—together—so you know what choices to make.

What You Need in Order to Organize Your Parent’s Health Information

In order to begin organizing your parent’s health information, you’ll need to gather some key pieces of information.

Family health history – You’ll probably need to reiterate this information every time your loved one visits a new specialist. Having it ready can save time.

Personal health history –This should include any conditions, symptoms, and treatments. Gather doctor’s visit summaries, hospital discharge papers, and also test results.
Keep these papers in a single folder, or sorted in multiple folders and then stored together. Include a cover sheet that summarizes your parent’s overall health history. Having extra copies you take with you to physician appointments can save them time tracking information down.

List of doctors – Create a list of your loved one’s physicians, including phone numbers, fax, and addresses. Also include current physicians and any they have consulted in the past.

Medication details – Make a comprehensive medication list, including dosages and prescribing physician. This way you or your parent’s physician can check for drug interactions quickly. Include any over-the-counter medication your parent takes as well as herbal remedies.

Insurance information – Gather all insurance information, photocopies of insurance cards, and Medicare forms. Include expiration or renewal dates as a reminder.

With all this paperwork organized, you’ll spend less time looking for information and more time focused on your parent’s medical care.

Looking at Big Picture Health Goals

Discuss your parent’s main health goals. Do they seek to live independently as long as possible? Are there certain treatments they want to avoid (such as surgery or chemotherapy) at almost any cost?

As you gather this information—and get it in writing—it’s also the time to have that tough discussion about a living will.

Decide How to Store Health Information

You might be the type of person who wants to keep health information information in hard copy in filing cabinets. If so, keep duplicate copies in separate locations to protect this information in the event of a flood or fire.

It may be easier to scan in all documents and store them on a hard drive. Again, make sure you have back-ups in a remote location or in a secure cloud.

Use Technology to Make Health Care Management Easier

A number of apps exist that can help you track your aging parent’s health history, physician information, health insurance coverage, prescription medications, and more.

Ask your loved one’s doctor or hospital if they use any proprietary apps to store patient information. The American Health Information Management Association can also provide recommendations for the latest apps and tools to track health information digitally. 

Whether you decide to take a high-tech or paper-based approach to storing and accessing your loved one’s medical information and records, it’s important that the data is:
  • Portable
  • Easily shareable (with other family members or medical professionals,
as needed)
  • Secure
Choosing a system you are most likely to use will streamline healthcare management, taking one less worry off your plate.

Let Five Star Senior Living take some caregiver responsibilities off your plate, with services ranging from respite care to assisted living. Contact us today to learn more.

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