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3rd Oct

2016

Caregiving & Record Keeping

GIVEN THAT CAREGIVING is extremely challenging, it makes sense to get as much help as you can. Anything that can make things a little easier is significant. This is why it is important to learn about the condition that is affecting your loved one. When you understand the medical challenges facing your loved one, the more you are in a position to understand what needs to be done.

“Knowledge is power.”

It is a saying used by Thomas Jefferson, and how true it is! Whatever challenges you may face it life, the more information you have, the more effective you are likely to be.

As a caregiver you do not need the kind of medical knowledge possessed by doctors and nurses. You are not the one diagnosing the condition or prescribing treatment. As a caregiver, though, you are the one who has the closest contact with the patient and his or her condition. It is something you live with and the more you understand the condition, the better off you are. Not only are you better able to anticipate your loved one’s needs, but you are better prepared within yourself to understand and cope with the more troubling aspects of the disease. Take as an example, Alzheimer’s disease. By learning more about the stages of this disease and how it affects the patient, the more you are able to recognize what your loved one is going through, and the more you can be aware of ways to provide calm and comfort.

Caregiver Resources

Make the time then, if you can, to learn more about your loved one’s condition. There are many reliable sources of information to be found online, some designed specifically for caregivers. One such source is the website of the Family Caregiver Alliance®. There you will find a great deal of information on many common conditions, and many other resources such as convenient fact sheets, videos and webinars with many practical tips for caregivers. It is a good resource for helpful information.

Record Keeping & Care Giving

There is another kind of information that is very important—your loved one’s personal medical information. Keep a record of such things as an up-to-date medication list, laboratory and radiology results, pathology reports, any cardiac tests, and so on. Not only can this help you understand better your loved one’s condition, but this kind of information can be invaluable if your loved one is seeing more than one doctor or if you are seeking a second opinion. With authorization doctors can retrieve medical records from one another, but in practice this takes time. Help your loved one’s doctors by providing them with as much information as possible. You can read much more about medical records and key health information in a post by Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH.

We live in what has been called the information age. Never before has there been so much information available at our fingertips. As a caregiver you can get lots of very useful online information. Use this information. It can help make your life a bit easier.

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