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Organize Your Medical Information

October 2, 2018

October is Organize your Medical Information Month! If you have never thought about how your information would be found in an emergency, or if you consider a move to a senior living community or long- or short-term skilled care, now is the time to get started organizing.

Records from the past year should be kept together and easily accessible by you and also a trusted family member or friend. Relevant past records (more than a year old) should be kept, but may be packed away in case they are needed. Some of the records you will want to have available include:

  • Your full legal name and birthdate
  • A directory of all the healthcare providers you see and contact information for each
  • A family health history for your immediate family members
  • A personal health history that includes current conditions and treatments, blood type, and past significant surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Summaries of recent physical, doctor visits or hospital stays, or stays at a rehabilitation facility
  • A list of all current medications and the pharmacy printouts that accompany them
  • Recent test results, including blood work or imaging
  • Insurance information and copies of insurance cards
  • Living will and medical power of attorney

If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, it may also be useful to keep a current log of regular measurements of blood pressure or blood sugar with your other records. If you have recently started new medications, write down when you started taking them and any effects you experienced.

You should organize all these records conveniently for you, caregivers or family members to access. For most purposes, and to be readily portable when needed, a three-ring binder with tabbed dividers or divided accordion file is convenient and easy to put together. While putting your records together, it is a good idea to make an extra copy to be kept in a different location, perhaps with a family member or trusted friend. Information can also be stored in PDF format on flash drives, which are easily portable and can be plugged into any computer for access. You may want to store your records securely online for easy access anywhere, if you or a family member or caregiver can readily provide the password information. Some available storage websites you may want to investigate are Microsoft HealthVault and MyKinergy.

All your records should be updated regularly. Each time you visit a provider or change medications, you should add the information to your record, and don’t forget to update the copy, also. At the end of each year, make it a habit to remove all outdated information from both copies and store it with your old archived records.

Keeping your records current and accessible will make it easy for you or your family if you need to go to the hospital, long term care community, short term rehab facility, or a senior living community. 

Meadows offers senior living options, including independent living, skilled nursing care, memory care, respite care, and inpatient or outpatient Achieve Wellness and Rehab Therapy. Call Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community in Chenoa at (309) 747-3635 to learn more about Meadows, or visit www.MeadowsCommunities.org.

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Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community:
24588 Church Street Chenoa, IL 61726