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Charting, Scheduling, and Records Keeping

 

 

New_1_DSCF0098The arduous duties of caregiving are most often endless.  Morning, noon or night–one must always strive to find ways to keep track and stay on pace.  And one of the most effective ways in doing that is with the use of charts and journals.  From listing various tasks to keeping routine schedules, charts and journals are great tracking tools which provide better efficiency and healthcare for any caregiver.  I could not have taken care of my mom at home for over 14 years without them.  Use them often!

CHARTS are easy to obtain and set up.  Format them to best suit your needs and your patient’s needs.  You can either purchase them for very little at any New_2_DSCF0679Walmart or make them yourself.  Cardboard, clear plastic, staples and dry erase markers are all you need.  Any written mistakes can easily be erased with tissue paper.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES WHICH CAN BE LISTED ON CHARTS:

  • Bowel Movements

  • Doctors and Hospital visits

  • Daily/Weekly Feeding requirements

  • Daily Activity requirements

  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly goals

  • Listing of current daily Medications

New_1_DSCF0688Always appropriately hang charts on walls where they are readily seen by all. Reading infomation from them should always be easily visible and ledgible.  That way the caregiver can quickly see past recorded activity. No need to exert wasted motion trying to locate them or create undo stress struggling to recall dates, appointments, past activities or daily requirements. Place them where they need to be.

SCHEDULING CHARTS are a must.  Here is a short list of what should be on them:

  1. Feedings

  2. Bathing

  3. Medications

  4. Physical Therapy

  5. Exercising

  6. Turnings, if immobile

  7. Times for inducing Bowel Movements, when needed.

The list above shows only a few items. Custom make it to your needs.  All in all, it gives you an idea of what types of activities which should be listed.  Keeping track in this fashion, minimizes anxieties, and provids better quality healthcare.   Moreover, it promotes healing as it establishes stability by employing routines.  Make it a daily hablt.

New_1_DSCF0684RECORD KEEPING is another useful tool for keeping track of various tasks. This is where daily journals come in handy.  Keep a daily, running  journal on most every pertinent activity related to caring for your ailing seniors at home.

  • Washing body, hair, pedicures, manicures.

  • Recording amounts of water intake

  • Food intake

  • Sheet changes

  • Rebandaging of open or healing wounds

  • Periodic Turnings

  • Adult underwear changing (Depends)

  • Record scheduled Homehealth visits at home

  • Record daily Blood Pressure readings

  • Daily Temperatures readings (oral or underarm)

  • Record any swellings

  • Medication

  • Urinating (in Depends) w/amounts, odor and color

  • Bowels Movement w/amounts and color

  • Visually examine for levels of pain (mild, moderate,severe)

charts and jounalsAgain, the list above is not exhaustive.  The more items you record in a Daily Journal,  the better quality healthcare you are able to provide.

Keep all Journals next to patient’s bed on night tables.  Always refer back to them if you should notice the presence of some kind of discomfort or complications which your senior might be exibiting.  Maybe it was a reaction to some new medication you administered hours or minutes ago.  Respond appropriately.  You may need to call her doctor.

Many times, reviewing recorded information in journals can provide patterns to mysterious problems and remedies for alleviating discomfort from something the caregiver might have done earlier.

For example, if you had recorded gas or flatulence right after you noticed it, you might can trace it back to some type of food or medicine you might be giving her earlier.  Some problems can be remedied at home.  Sometimes you can simply reduce or switch some OTC medicines to another brand.  Foods can sometimes be the culprit. At any rate, discuss any persistent problems with your doctor when necessary. Nevertheless, regularly checking your journals could alert you to why one thing or another might be happening.   Journals can reveal causal effects of earlier actions.

This is why it is so important to keep a running record of flunctuating body temperatures.  Increasing tempts. can alert you of a possible infection.  You can also detect possible complications by recording regular respiration rates.   High respiration rates might be signaling some type of distress in the body.  Always know your patient’s “baseline” rate.  Note and record any changes.

Just as Accountants can read financial statements to tell or predict the financial health of a business,  journals too are great tools to help you predict changes and problems caused by an earlier action or forcast trouble on the horizon.   Always refer to them.

New_2_DSCF0691In any case, it is always better to be safe than sorry!  Never hesitate to call your PCP, private doctor, or 9-11 when you think something is more going on with a senior.  Charts and Journal are excellent healthcare aids.

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