What are some Low Tech tools I can use to increase my healthcare independence?

Calendar
Lists
Medication Divider
File Divider

Calendar

A calendar, whether paper or in the form of an app, can be incredibly valuable to you when keeping track of all your healthcare needs. 

Regarding medications, record in your calendar when you need to refill each medication, and when you need to pick them up from the pharmacy or when sent through the mail, record the estimated arrival date.

Your medical supplies need to be refilled as well. Write on your calendar when you need to call your medical supply company to refill your order. Then record the date your medical supplies should be delivered to your home.

Any time you are to schedule an appointment, write on your calendar the day you are to make that appointment, if applicable, as well as record the actual date and time of the appointment. It may also be helpful to record the doctor’s name and/or location of your appointment. This applies to any appointment, from doctor or therapy to eye doctor or dentist. It can also apply when meeting with your medical supply representative and writing down appointments is even helpful for when you are going to meet up with friends.

Calendars are not just for recording dates and times but can help you manage your care team. If applicable, record when and/or who will assist you with your daily needs and if you need a ride or assistance at an appointment.

Lists

Whether lists are created on paper or on a computer, they are incredibly helpful. Lists, prepared ahead of time, can provide you with the pertinent information you need to remember in a moments notice or during a stressful time. Here is a list of potential lists that may be helpful for you to create:

    1. Medications: list out all of your medications; this is helpful as all of your doctors will ask for this list. It may be helpful to provide
      1. how much of each medication you take
      2. How many times per day you take them 
      3. Any interactions your medications may have with other medications not currently taking
  • Allergies: List all allergies you may have: this may include but is not limited to:
    1. Foods
    2. Medications
    3. Medical supplies (e.g. Latex, tape, bandages, iodine, etc.)
    4. Chemicals/fragrances
    5. Seasonal/environmental
  • Questions: There are many different lists of questions you can create ahead of time to help you remember what you want to ask professionals:
    1. For a doctor (e.g. primary care, specialist, dentist, eye doctor, etc.)
    2. For an insurance company
    3. For a medical supply company
    4. For a therapist (e.g. physical, occupational, speech, psychiatric, etc.) 

Medication Divider

A medication divider, also known as a pill divider, is a case that can hold your daily medications to help you be more independent. 

You can purchase a medication divider to fit your specific needs. There are many different types, including ones that allow space for daily pills for an entire week, as well as others that provide space for morning and night meds. You may need to purchase more than one divider if you take medications more than twice per day. Be sure to label your dividers so you do not mix up your medications and take them at the wrong time.

There are even techier pill dispensers that sound an alarm, some with a flashing light included, to remind you when you need to take your medication.

Even a low tech medication divider can help you know if you have taken your medications on a particular day. If you remembered to fill your medication divider and the pill case is still full, then you will know that you have not taken your medication that day. Pick a day and time, whether it be on your own or with assistance, to fill your pill containers. This also could be written on your calendar and you can mark it off when you have refilled your medication divider.

File Divider

A file divider can come in many forms ranging from a file cabinet to a binder or even a box divided into sections. With a file divider, you can create an organized system where you can store and easily access any of your health-related information/paperwork/documents. Some sections may include but are not limited to:

  • Medical Records
  • Insurance:
    • One for private (if you are covered by a private insurance company)
    • One for Medicaid (if you are covered by Medicaid)
  • Medical Supply Company
  • Durable Medical Equipment Company

Divide whatever type of file divider you have into sections. Then label each action with the types of documents you have/will receive. Place the correlating documents in each section every time you receive them.