Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caregiver's Handbook

You'll receive more information and paperwork on this journey than you can possibly keep track of. Take control by making yourself a handbook: a loose-leaf notebook to hold everything and to write in.

Have the following tabs in your notebook:
• Names and phone numbers of the patient, caregiver, oncologist, all medical personnel, family, friends, and religious leader (pastor, priest or rabbi). You may lose your cell phone or use up its battery, so don’t depend on it.
• Notes taken at all appointments. Also write what happens with the patient at home, including changes in temperature, nausea, pain, or anything that requires help. Write what you did and how the patient was 30 minutes and 60 minutes later.
• Questions to ask the doctor. Write them down whenever you think of them. Ask at the next appointment and write the answers.
• A list of prescriptions and other meds the patient is taking, as well as the dosage amount and when. A triage nurse in the ER can just input this info from your list, saving you time at checkin.
• Medical info from the doctor: any pamphlets or papers you get.
• Results from tests. Put the most recent in front, so they'll be easier to find.
• Encouragement: cards and e-mails. These will come in handy if you end up admitted to the hospital unexpectedly. You will then have some words of encouragement to get you through.
• Insurance :Keep every bill or correspondence you get from your health care organization or Medicare.
• Planning for the future: Make a list of things you’d like to do when the cancer goes into remission, like a restaurant, ice skating, or Disney World. When you can, make one of these wishes come true.

For more info, go to and download the first chapter. It lists more sections and provides valuable information to help you. If you'd prefer, at this website you can order a notebook already created and ready to use.

Learn all you can. Knowledge is power, and you need all the power you can muster!
Love to you on your journey-