Creating a Caregiver Folder

Creating a caregiver binder is essential for many reasons. The number one reason is peace of mind for the caregiver and care recipient. This binder is a portable compilation of resources you can keep at your fingertips to help you in your role as a caregiver.

A caregiver folder should include as much information as is necessary for the needs of the person receiving care. It should be portable to accompany the caregiver and care recipient when visiting health care providers. Most doctors will ask about the medications you are taking to make sure they have the most up-to-date list. If they make changes, you can update the list at that time.

Create at least two copies of the caregiver’s folder. Keep a copy at the care recipient’s home and a copy with the caregiver. Update all copies as things change and put the date of the change next to each entry. Entry dates ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

There are a couple of options for creating a caretaker folder and copies. A physical copy makes more sense for the primary copy to reside with the care recipient. That way, all care providers who enter a care recipient’s home have access to their information.

Another option, possibly for a copy, is in digital format.. Digital format options include: apps on a smartphone or cloud or internet file sharing. This format can be helpful in terms of not having to carry a folder with you, but at the same time being portable and easily accessible to the care recipient’s information. I recommend creating the physical folder first, and then determining which option to choose for the copy.

Choose a three-ring binder with a pocket inside the front and back covers for the hard copy. Some folders have a zippered version that will keep things from falling out, and others have pockets inside. Sheet protectors and tab dividers help organize categories for quick and easy access.

As mentioned above, each folder should have as much information as required and will also be specific to the needs of the care recipients. Below is a list of items that are typically included in a caregiver binder. Choose the items you think are necessary to create your portfolio and gather or create these documents. Please add any other required documents that may not be listed here.

  • Key Care Recipient Information
  • Emergency contact list
  • Contact list of medical professionals: doctors, physical therapists, occupational and speech therapists, mental health professionals, social workers, pharmacies, etc.
  • List of medications, doses, schedules and who provides medication management
  • List of allergies, both drug and environmental, and how they occur
  • appointment calendar
  • Contact information for home care workers, their hours and description of services – this is important for supervision
  • Medical records
  • Hospital Stay Discharge Instructions
  • Multiple copies of advance directives, the medical professionals to whom a copy was provided, and the date the copy was provided; the date provided is important because if the practitioner says he doesn’t have a copy, that could be a red flag as to your record. maintainability
  • Multiple copies of the Power of Attorney (POA), a list of professionals to whom a copy was provided, and the date the copy was provided; the date provided is important because if the professional says he doesn’t have a copy, that could be a red flag as to his record-keeping ability
  • List of dietary requirements if applicable
  • List of sources of income, monthly expenses, payment information, who pays the bills, and payment schedule

After you create the initial physical folder, determine how you want to make a copy or copies. Remember to update all copies when a change occurs. If you choose to make a physical copy, retrace the steps you followed to create the initial caregiver folder. Getting digital copies makes a lot of sense when you have multiple caregivers. File sharing enables real-time information sharing, so everyone has the most accurate information at any given time.

As mentioned above, there are a couple of options for creating a digital caretaker folder; applications on a smartphone or share files in the cloud or the Internet. There are many organizer apps for smartphones and you need to do some research to find the one that works for you. My preference for organizer apps and the one I use is Evernote. It has many features to organize documents including file sharing. Other file sharing options include Dropbox and Google docs.

When you determine the digital option, you’ll use, scan, or take a photo with your phone of the documents in the physical folder and upload them to your smartphone app or file sharing option. Then, if applicable, share the documents with your Circle of Caregivers to keep them informed.

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Category: Relationship