Keeping medical records

Think of yourself as someone with two sets of books, the hospital's and yours. If the hospital loses your child's chart or misplaces lab results, you will still have a copy. If your child's chart becomes a foot thick, you will still have your simple system that makes it easy to spot trends and retrieve dosage information. The following are suggested items that you should record:

• Dates and results of all lab work

• Dates of chemotherapy, drugs given, and dose

• All changes in dosages of medicine

• Any side effects from drugs

• Any fevers or illnesses

• Dates for all scheduled and unscheduled hospitalizations

• Dates for all medical appointments and name of the doctor seen

• Dates for any procedures performed (both surgical and non-surgical)

• Dates of radiation therapy, including total dose delivered and areas treated

• Dates of diagnosis, completion of therapy, and recurrences, if any

• Baseline height and weight and serial determinations thereafter

• Childs sleeping patterns, appetite, and emotions

Keeping daily records of your childs health for two or three years is hard work. But remember that your child will be seen by pediatricians, oncologists, residents, radiation therapists, lab technicians, nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers. Your records will keep it all straight and help pull all information together. They will help you remember questions to ask, prevent mistakes, notice trends. They will help busy doctors remember what happened the last time your child was given a certain drug. Your records will help the entire team provide your child with the best possible care.

There are as many good ways to record the above information as there are parents. The following are record-keeping methods parents have used successfully.

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