Thursday, September 10, 2009

Caregiving Journal

When I was taking care of my Mother, I developed a caregivers journal. I bought a 3 ring binder and a package of tabs. This book was designed to be grabbed in a medical emergency as well as a day to day record of mother's care. These were the sections I included.
1. Emergency Data - Phone Numbers - Drs, family, friends, caregivers, Programs, everybody I dealt with in regards to Moms well being. I also included a prepaid phone card in cases of emergency caregivers could reach my sister and other family members if I was not there.
2. Calendar with appointments and events.
3. Mom's Profile - Her story. What she liked to eat, stories she liked to hear, how to work with her, strategies to use. Things to be aware of mood shifts. What medication she was taking. Current photos - especially when she was wandering. Side effects to watch for. Music she liked to listen to. tips for safely getting her out of chairs, bathing her and later making sure she had snacks and lots of water to drink. Things she was still able to do and things she needed cue-ing with. I put enough current information, that if for some reason I was not there medical personnel and my sister Rita would have enough information to know what was going on.
4. Medical - Current medication, dosage prescribing physicians. Pill schedule. I included prescription and nutritional. Any reactions we had seen. I also included notarized medical permission forms for the people I had selected to be able to make decisions in an emergency. I made a copy of her medical insurance card.
5. Daily Record - This was kept by each caregiver including me: Mom's current moods, how well she ate, how much water she had drank, if she had been incontinent or constipated. Funny incidents, happy incidents, what they had done that day for activities. What was working what wasn't.
6. List of caregivers- names, numbers, times they preferred to work.
7. A copy of mother's living will. My attorney's name and the fact that my sister would have guardianship if something happened to me. (The original documents were kept with the attorney and were part of my will.) I wish I had put the location of the Power of Attorney I had in this journal. When I was hospitalized no one knew where it was. I had to tell Rita, my sister where it was. It was very fortunate that I was able to talk and eventually remembered where it might be. She needed the Power of Attorney because I was given narcotics during my hospitalization and legally could not make decisions.
I put this together so it was portable and had information that would assist others to make decisions in an emergency if I was unable to do so. It also helped keep everyone who was caring for mother in the loop. What happened before they got there. It helped me to know about mother's day when I came home from work.

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