If you’re visiting medical providers more often–to address new or chronic conditions–it might be time to consider starting a care notebook. You may be finding it harder to keep track of appointments, remember prep and follow-up instructions, and manage medications. Creating a care notebook or binder helps to ensure that you–and your caregivers–know what to expect and can help to maintain your care and establish routines. A care notebook can also be a lifesaver in an emergency, or it can help decrease stress during a crisis. This notebook or binder should be shared with new caregivers, brightly colored, and kept in a place that is easy to locate and access.
There’s no one right way to arrange your notebook. Most importantly, it should feel organized and relevant to your specific needs. Here are some ideas on how to arrange it into useful sections:
1. Emergency contact information
An emergency fact sheet with your emergency contacts
A list of your family members, their roles, and how they can assist in an emergency
A contact list of backup caregivers
A list of your medical providers and preferred hospital
If you need a translator, provide that contact information
If you have pets, list who will care for the pet in an emergency
2. Medical information
A list of medications you currently take and dosage schedule chart
A list of your diagnosed conditions
A list of any medical equipment that you need (e.g., a walker, oxygen, CPAP machine, etc.) and use instructions
3. Get to know (name of person)!
A list of preferred activities you enjoy
A list of activities you do NOT enjoy
A list of your physical abilities so you can be an active participant in your care–to maintain your independence
Provide key changes when you are not feeling well and your symptoms if you are sick or in pain, especially if you’re unable to communicate your needs verbally
If you have pets, what daily care is needed
4. Daily care log
Create a daily log of your day, especially if more than one caregiver is supporting you. This log can be very helpful to the family and the doctors. It might include:
Daily snapshot of the care recipient’s activities and mood
Food and fluid intake
Daily bladder and bowel habits
Times that medication was taken
The information and services on this site do not constitute medical nor health care advice for any individual problem nor a substitute for medical or other professional advice and services from a qualified health care provider familiar with your unique facts.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and prior to starting any new treatment.