Keeping Records

This is an excerpt from one of the handbooks we use during our workshop sessions. 

Throughout this handbook we suggest that keeping records can help you to support your family member.  Keeping records may save your family member from having to repeat medications that have not worked in the past or help you reconnect with a health professional who was particularly helpful in a crises or other situation.  It may also assist you to recognize what helps your family member stay well.  Some family members have found it helpful to keep records via a journal.  In the journal  they also note their own thoughts, experiences and perspectives.  On this page we give you tips and offer suggestions for keeping records.

What you may want to record:

  • Names and contact information for health professionals working with your family member
  • Appointment dates and purpose, what was done
  • Hospitalization dates, unit numbers or names, discharge plans

Tips for organizing information:

  • You will need something to store the information that you record and collect.  Some people find a three-ring binder is useful, especially the ones with pockets on the inside cover.  Pocket inserts are also helpful when using a binder.  Others use an expandable file or a zippered organizer with pockets that can hold letter-size paper.  It is possible you will collect a fair amount of information.  You will want to keep that in mind when choosing a tool that works for you.  Whatever tool you think will make keeping records easier and will help you to find information quickly and easily is the right one for you.
  • It is often helpful to keep information in order by date, with the most current information on top or at the front of the files.