Hi parents! I want to share some practical tips on getting started with managing your child’s healthcare.
First, leave a hospital bag in the car. This will be like an overnight bag with toiletries, medications, change of clothes for you and your child. Keep it in the car for unexpected hospital trips. It will save some additional stress in the event of an emergency. I’m not sure why it took me several years to start doing this (probably because I kept hoping it wouldn’t be needed again). Asking a friend to go through your underwear drawer is just embarrassing! So save yourself the grief and pack your bag.
Second, make a Medical History Summary for your child. Things to include:
1) Family history
3) Past surgeries and procedures
4) List of current medications
Be sure to update this frequently – I update mine about every two months. I put the date on the bottom of the second page so I always know it’s the latest version. Print out several copies to keep in the medical binder, which I will discuss next. I always print this in a different color so it’s easy for me and the doctors to locate. I can’t tell you how helpful this has been, especially when seeing a new specialist, going the ER or when admitted to the hospital. Wherever you see doctors that are not familiar with your child, have this ready to hand out. Most doctors tell me they wish every child came with one of these. It really helps in an emergency because your mind will be focused on your child (as it should be) and you may forget important information to share with the doctors. Also keep a printed copy in your purse or take a picture of it with your phone and mark it a favorite so you will always have it with you. Last week, while on a family vacation, I was without ours and my daughter ended up in the ER. It would have been SO helpful to have this summary with us. Today, I took a picture of both pages with my phone so this won’t happen again!
Third, start a medical binder for your child. This will go with you wherever you go. We leave ours in the car so that I don’t forget to take it to all doctor appointments or for unexpected hospital visits. As we go from specialist to specialist we have all of the information with us. I have found that much information gets lost when sent to doctors’ offices. Often we have had to wait long periods because information or test results were misplaced or didn’t make it to them in the first place. Get copies of all test results while at the doctor’s office and put them in the binder. This includes doctors’ orders (even if they say they are sending the orders, ask for a copy) it will save you much grief. Here are things to include in your medical binder:
1) Logs doctors have requested you keep (of diet, bleeding episodes, seizures, etc.)
2) Current list of all doctors and contact information
3) Test results including pictures
4) Letter of recommended treatments from your doctors (for example if the Cardiologist wants your child to have antibiotics before any surgeries, it’s helpful to keep the letter in the binder so you can show it at the hospital to eliminate any confusion)
5) Updated vaccination certificate
6) Medical History Summery with currently medications (as described above)
Along with a medical binder, you need to make a shorter version to keep at your child’s school and to send with them when they stay with friends or family. That way, if your child is with someone else and needs to go to the hospital, all of the information is right there. Be sure to include:
1) Current list of all doctors and contact information
2) Copy of the front and back of your child’s insurance card
3) Updated signed medical consent to treat your child (if necessary, include your permission for child to receive blood products)
4) Copy of your child’s medical history summary and medication list (as described above)
These are three things to help get you started in managing your child’s healthcare. I would love to hear your ideas! Please comment below with other tips you have for parents who are just beginning down this path.
We are in this together! Much Love!