This article will provide you with the top 10 categories of items to consider when creating a paper based personal health record.
1. Basic Profile
The basic profile will be the first page in the personal health record (PHR). The profile page will most likely be the very first page you turn to, so having the most important details available in a moment’s notice is the intent of the page. Some items to consider adding are: name of loved one, date of birth, place of birth, nickname, gender, address, phone(s), email, and a recent photo. You can even add a little note that indicates if this page is found, please return to (insert address), postage paid.
2. Emergency Contacts
This is the second most important category to include in the PHR. Write the name, phone, and email of the top two or three emergency contacts. Consider adding the primary care physician’s name, address, phone, and fax. You might consider indicating their DNR and organ donation wishes and the location of important documents like a will or trust.
3. Medication List
Medications can change very frequently for some of our loved ones. While we do our best to keep on top of it, having a single list as the master list can be very helpful. It is nice to have the pharmacy name, address, and phone number on the top of the medication list.
For each medication, consider having the RX#, the name, dosage, frequency, time of day, and the last refill date. It is often helpful to also include any special details, like “don’t take this one with food” and “only take this one in an emergency.”
4. Doctor Contact Information
It is helpful to have all the various doctors your loved one is seeing so you can easily provide that detail to their primary care physician, case manager, or other care provider when asked. Keeping the doctor’s name, address, phone, and fax easily accessible is handy when you are trying to provide a lot of detail to a new doctor or a new specialist.
5. Tests and Procedures
This is one of the categories that is often overlooked and the one that could cost you money if you don’t keep track. Keeping a log of the test type, the date, the name of the ordering physician, the address, phone, and fax information can be helpful.
6. Insurance Information
The first thing it seems like the hospital or doctor office asks us when we arrive is for our insurance card. Once in awhile, we forget the card and they are not exactly happy about it. You can make a copy of the front and back of all of your cards, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, medication coverage, and/or medicare and medicaid details to make it quick and easy.
7. Medical History of Your Loved One
Having the quick and dirty details on your loved one’s medical history can be a big help, especially if you are trying to wrangle them and someone else might need to help provide information. Important details to consider documenting are their name, date of birth, gender, and blood type.
8. Family Medical History
While knowing the details of your loved one is important, having details about their biological parents, siblings, and, if possible, grandparents can be helpful when filling out the never-ending family medical history forms each time you visit the doctor. Include the condition and the date they were diagnosed, if you know.
While you will most likely have your appointments in your electronic calendar, it is nice to have a record of all the appointments that are related to the medical care of your loved one. Anything you might want others in your loved one’s caregiving team to know, you can enter and share in the calendar.
Many caregivers underestimate the impact long term caregiving can have on their own health and well being. Since you may be spending some time hanging out in waiting rooms, having a journal as part of your loved one’s PHR can also help you keep track of how you are doing. You can track how you are feeling and/or what concerns you have that you want to discuss with the doctor for either your loved one or yourself.