Carer Chronicles: How I Stay Organised
Being organised has never been a strong attribute of mine, then one day my Dad came home from hospital with a big bag of meds, booklets of symptoms to watch for, and names & numbers coming out of our ears. We were getting phone calls and letters left, right and center with appointments and home visits.
Finding out my Dad has cancer and finding out that it can't be cured was something I could never have prepared myself for. It is life changing, not just for my dad, but for me as his carer. The emotional side is so overwhelming and hard to navigate, so I know if I hadn't taken active steps to be organised as soon as he came home, I would have been drowning in it all.
How do I stay organised? in 4 steps...
Step 1: The first thing I did when my dad returned home was write down ALL of his medication, the amount he has to take and when he has to take it.
It is SO much easier to have it all clearly written down on one sheet of paper, rather than looking at each medication box every day to see what you need to administer and when. Plus it leaves less room for mistakes!
Bonus tip: Put all medication in one box so you can easily manage it!
Step 2: Setting alarms has been a lifesaver!
We have a diabetic dog who needs to have two insulin injections each day. My dad used to give him those injections, but since he got admitted into hospital I had to take over. So on top of my dads medication, I have to also remember our dogs. Now when you're also doing the day-to-day shopping and errands it can be easy to forget things.
That's where alarms come in handy! I have an alarm set for EVERYTHING! The time I have to help my dad out of bed, the time I have to feed the dog, the time I have to wake my Uncle, the times I have to give my dad his meds - EVERYTHING!
Step 3: I would be a mess if I didn't have a diary!
Every time we get a letter or a phone call with an appointment, I write it down in my diary straight away.
I also use it to write down when my dad's medication will run out and then I make a note for 3 days before to phone the doctors to get a repeat prescription.
Having a diary, again makes it so I'm not forgetting anything important. Making a mistake like forgetting an appointment or running out of medication is something that could have a negative affect on my dad - and my job is to keep on top of everything so that he doesn't have to.
Bonus tip: Keep ALL letters, booklets and documents in one box.
Step 4: I created 2 books; a daily tracker, and a food diary. By doing this, it allows me to monitor things like; his pain level, fatigue level, sleeping habits, mood level, symptoms, appetite etc. The main benefit to doing this is I can show the books to his district nurse, specialist nurse, consultant, doctor etc. and they then have a clearer picture of his condition which allows them to make better and more effective decisions on his behalf.
I have made pdf versions of the daily tracker and the food diary just for you;
By staying organised, it not only stops you from being overwhelmed, but it helps the person you're caring for. It makes sure that they're getting exactly the right care at exactly the right times and it eases their worries too so they can be more focused on the good.
Suddenly having to step up and be a carer is hard - but staying organised makes it a little bit easier for both of you.
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