What if a tragic event happened and you needed to know what someone you love’s medical history was? I know I have a difficult time remembering my own surgeries and medicines when I’m completing new paperwork for a doctor. Couple that with the adrenalin that comes with tragic events and I’m not sure how well I could remember everything. Having a medical binder with all this pertinent information will make it easier to relay this information to the medical team.
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What is a medical binder? It is one place to put everything related to your health. There should be information for yourself, spouse, and kids. It is also important to know this information about your parents as they age as well.
3 Ring Binder
Paper and pen
Excel spreadsheet or printable medical forms
This is a medical records organizer that is just binder tabs. The dividers state what to include but there are no forms to write on and the binder is not included. It is a good option if you prefer to start with something instead of doing everything from scratch. As with anything, make adjustments to fit your needs.
Items to cover:
Diagnosis of illness
Medical history of you
Medical history of your siblings, parents, & grandparents
Document any allergic reactions to medicines
List of current medications –
-doctor that prescribed it
-name of medicine (both generic if applicable and the “name brand”)
-number of times a day you’re taking and when during the day
Keep a section of medicines that you’ve tried for certain diagnosis and if it helped, dates, etc. This can help the doctor determine what medicine to prescribe and perhaps skip that one if it didn’t work in the past.
Include any allergic reactions to medicine in this section too
Other allergies – some are allergic to certain pollens, grass, bugs (my daughter is allergic to roaches!!), bees, etc.
Diagnosis of illness
-date of the diagnosis
-specific type of illness
-primary doctor treating it
-anything else pertinent
1/22/2000 Lung cancer Adenocarcinomas Dr. ABC
Surgery date xx PET Scan date xx Stage 3, etc.
It’s not just for kids. Adults have immunizations too such as flu shot, tetanus, etc.
If someone were to step on something that had quite a bit of germs and cut their foot, it would be important to know when their last tetanus shot was.
Medical History of you
This is all the data needed to complete the “Have you ever had…..?” section of paperwork
Chest pain or pressure
Dizziness or fainting spells
High blood pressure
Irregular heart beat
Other implants – such as knee or hip replacement, mediport, etc.
Severe or frequent headaches
Shortness of breath
This is not a comprehensive list, but is generally what is asked. Tailor your binder to reflect things in your medical history.
Medical History of your siblings, parents, & grandparents
Repeat the list above under medical history for your siblings, parents, & grandparents
If the answer is yes to any of the items, list if it is your siblings, parents, or grandparents. They also ask if it is on your mom or dad’s side, so go ahead and note that too.
-type of surgeries
Lab results – for any items being closely monitored by the physician – Example: high blood pressure -having list of what it was when taken will be pertinent information
Pharmacy name, location, and phone number
Hospital preferred including address and phone number
Primary care physician name, address, and phone number
Emergency contacts – name at least two people with their phone number, address, and relationship to you
Any other important information
This information should be completed for each member of your family. Even if you know this information, perhaps you will not be available when an emergency occurs. You can let someone know where the binder is. Put this medical information in the binder with the divider tabs separating each person.
I recently have had to start assisting my mom with her medical care. My mom was always designated as the caretaker when we were young, but now the roles are reversed and my dad is having to do this. While he is certainly capable of doing it by himself right now, it’s new territory and I know he appreciates having an extra ear and hand. At the beginning, it took some time to gather all this data, as I was not aware of all the details. Having this all together in a binder will help everyone involved in the care of a loved one.
In addition to the medical binder, there are medical alert bracelets and necklaces that allow others to know very important information quickly.
Whether young or old, things happen. Let’s be prepared so that we or our loved ones will have the medical history to be treated quickly when necessary. The medical binder does not need to be fancy. There are printable forms, they can be done in excel and printed, or just hand written. The most important thing is getting the information down on paper. This reduces the stress of trying to remember everything. There is not a one size fits all for what to put in the medical binder. Modify it to your needs and keep it current.
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