Elderly parents often have numerous medications and an lengthy medical history. Thank goodness for computers! They make it so much easier to keep your parent’s medical information up to date and thanks to printers you can print multiple copies and take them with you. I can tell you firsthand how nice it is when I take my mom to the doctor or hospital and I just hand over the paper with everything neatly typed and organized. Believe me they are appreciative and plus they can devote more time to treating my mom instead of having to transcribe a long list of medical information.
Your health care professional needs to know your parent’s medical history, their medications and allergies. Below you will find an easy format you can copy. But first I would like to clear up a couple of concerns many people have.
Recreational drug users are often disinclined to share their drug use with the health care provider. (Yes, the elderly use drugs illegally and for recreational purposes too). You need to know that some of those drugs can interfere with or enhance other medications and we do not want to give your parent something that is going to have a severe reaction with those drugs. So please, just tell us. We are not the police and we will not report anyone to the police. What you say is protected by HIPPA and patient confidentiality. You can also request that information not be entered into their medial record.
The other area people keep secret is how much alcohol they drink. We can prevent delirium tremens also known as DT’s as well as avoid putting someone in a comma, completely frying their liver and a whole host of other complications if we know how much they really drink.
If you are honest with no one else in your life, please be honest with the people who literally hold your parent’s life in their hands. We might suggest they seek treatment or tell them the dangers just as we do with smokers and people who are overweight but we can also work with you and them to help them be as healthy as possible.
Like the 89 year old lady I had, that drank a pint of whiskey a day. She had been doing this for years and she informed me she had no intention of stopping. She knew the dangers so I just suggested some vitamin supplements and a few dietary changes along with a warning about using acetaminophen.
When listing your or a loved one’s medical information, put the patient’s name and date of birth at the top of the page. This is all the identifying information needed.
When listing allergies include food allergies and what the type of reaction occurs: Codeine – nausea and vomiting, Sulfa – itching, Bee stings – throat swells closed, Demerol – hallucinations, strawberries – rash. (Allergies can be underlined or written in bold or red as a good method to draw attention to them.)
Now hallucinations are not an allergic reaction but rather an unfortunate side effect of some medications. This is the reason we medical professionals always ask what kind of reaction you have to a medication. The reaction might be mild enough that we can still give you the medicine and treat the reaction. Or a simple dosage adjustment might prevent the side effects.
When listing medications, include strength, how often it is taken, when it is taken and what condition it is for:
Remember to include over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen even though you only take them occasionally. Vitamins and herbal supplements should also be listed. Some vitamins are stored in your fat and can build to toxic levels, some herbs interact with medications or should only be used for a short time.
A brief medical history, with dates if known, is also helpful.
The finished product would look something like this:
Jacob Jones DOB: 09/05/38
Allergies: Codeine – nausea and vomiting, Sulfa – itching, Bee stings – throat swells closed, Demerol – hallucinations.
|Aspirin||81 mg||One||Every Morn||Heart Attack|
|Vasotec||10 mg||One||Every Morn||Blood Pressure|
|Zoloft||50 mg||One||Every Morn||Depression|
|Glucophage||500 mg||One||Morn and Eve||Diabetes|
|Tylenol||325 mg||Two||As Needed||Pain|
Tonsillectomy and appendectomy as a child
Hernia repair 1999
Heart attack 2001
Hypertension X 5 years
Diabetes X 6 years
All on one page, two max. Makes life so much easier!