Keeping a Diary can be a LIfesaver

Posted by: Kathy Harmon on 7/10/2010

Dear Kathy,
If you are your parents' health care surrogate, power of attorney or primary caregiver, consider keeping a diary of their medical exams, treatments, operations and prescription drugs.  Dates, doctors’ names and a line or two concerning the exam or procedure can turn out to be useful in case of insurance issues, the need for a second opinion, malpractice or cause of death. 

A case in point; my mother died eight months after breaking her leg in a fall.  She was 93 and had been walking, with a walker, until the fall but was bedridden thereafter.  The medical examiner asked me for the date of the fall and subsequent procedures to help him recover the official records and determine whether death was due to natural causes or accidental.  She had an accidental death insurance policy, so it turns out to be of financial interest.
Connie from Delaware

Dear Connie,
Thank you so much for giving our readers this sound advice.  Most adult children are ill prepared for the roles they will fulfill as their parents age. They have no idea what the ramifications might be for their actions, or lack thereof, until it is too late.   We will be sending your advice out to all who receive our newsletter, making it a blog topic and incorporate it into the Toolkit Legal revision due out next month. 

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