To help your loved one get the best care, you need a full picture of his health, past and present. You should talk to your loved one about
- current health conditions. What is your loved one currently being treated for?
- current symptoms. How does he feel now? Has your loved one noticed any changes in his health? Is he having any trouble with daily activities?
- current medications. You should have a list of everything he is taking, including over-the-counter medications and alternative remedies. You should also know the dosages.
- allergies or food restrictions.
- past health conditions.
- medications taken in the past.
Compile a “health history.” This document will help you keep a record of important information about your loved one’s health, including the dates and results of past tests, major illnesses, hospitalization, medications, chronic illnesses, allergies, and a family history of physical and mental illnesses. It may sound daunting to collect all of this information, but the process does not have to be that difficult. If you have not kept this information in the past, start now and go forward.
For more advice on how to compile a simple health history, click on the link in the LINKS box.
It is very important that you know whether your love one has named a health care proxy, someone who can legally make medical decisions on his behalf in the event that he can no longer make them himself. If he has not, he should do so immediately. If he has not named a legal representative, rules vary from state to state as to who could make important medical decisions, such as whether to continue or withhold life-sustaining treatments. By naming a proxy, your loved one can ensure that someone he trusts will make the choices he would prefer.
For more information on how both you and your loved one can name a health care proxy, and create other legal documents that can ensure you always get the health care you want, click on the links in the GO TO box.