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The Fearless Caregiver 
Caregiver.com

FORWARD TO A FRIEND

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief Just For The Record

 

One of every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is in what is known as the “Sandwich Generation,” both raising a child and caring for a parent. Many are also well within what has come to be known as the “Club-Sandwich Generation,” raising kids while caring for parents and grandparents.  Of the over 65 million family caregivers in the US, over half spend on average 21 hours per week caring  for mostly elderly loved ones.

One of the side effects of these statistics is a heck of a lot of doctors’ office visits, insurance paperwork to manage, and middle of the night hustles to the emergency room.  I remember one occasion when we were caring for both of my grandparents at the same time. During one middle of the night rush to the emergency room, we thought we had grabbed my grandfather’s records.  But when we were asked about his specific health information, we realized we had grabbed my grandmother’s file instead. That only added to the confusion of an extremely important moment.  But, the unfortunate truth was, with as many doctors as my grandparents were seeing and as many medications that they were both taking, we still didn’t have everything we would have needed in an emergency.  You would think that, fifteen years later, with the advent of a digitalized world, this would be a challenge that no other caregiver would have to face.  Not so fast.   Zweena Health

Today, most medical records still remain on paper, written by hand and filed away in a doctor’s office file cabinet, or within those big rolling racks that your doctor’s staff has to manipulate to find yours among the wall of other patients’ manila folders. That is what takes place in every one of your loved one’s doctor’s offices and unless you ask for a copy, it all just sits there doing nothing until someone looks at it.

You have undoubtedly heard a lot about Personal Health Records, but may not know what the term means. PHRs make it easy to collect and share medical records, and manage and care for the health of your family members. PHRs exist to help you to be better informed and better able to access your loved one’s records when needed. 

Proper health information, easily accessed, is one of the most important tools that a Fearless Caregiver can have at his or her disposal. And like a nifty yet vital tool on a super hero’s utility belt, such information is needed most readily in an emergency.  Just the cure for when you don’t want to be bringing your grandmother’s information into the emergency room when the patient is a 92-year-old man.  

 

 

 

 

 
  Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief
Today's Caregiver magazine
gary@caregiver.com
 
Wednesday October 26, 2011
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