To help your loved one get the best care, you need a full picture of their 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 do they feel now? Has your loved one noticed any changes in their health? Are they having any trouble with daily activities?
  • Current medications. You should have a list of everything they are 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.
  • Surgeries.

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.

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 their behalf in the event that they can no longer make them. If they have not, they should do so immediately. If they have 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 they trust will make the choices they would prefer.