HMP Series – Medical Workbook Part 3

HMP Series – Medical Workbook Part 3

by Lily on August 10, 2009

Finally! Here is the final part of the Medical Workbook series. I have been using my Medical Workbook this week quite abit actually, a bout of Whooping Cough has hit some members of my family and I have used my MW to look up immunisation/booster shot information as well as my medical history (I had Whooping Cough when I was 15). As always, having this information at my fingertips makes managing a stressful situation much easier. In this final part of the Medical Workbook we will look at keeping a record of your Medical History as well as an Admission/Clinic Outcome Journal.

Medical History

A well recorded Medical History is a very usual tool for people who have multiple health issues and any number of other complications. It is never too late to start a Medical History. A good way to start one is to roughly list the year that you first experienced any health problems and the details of that problem and then work your way back from there, giving a rough yearly outline. You will forgot things, you are not expected to remember everything at once, don’t worry! Instead write down what you can and perhaps put it into a word document that you can update easily when the details come to you at a later occasion. Once you have an outline of any issues, complications, problems or newly introduced treatments/medications that you have come across in the past you can then look at keeping your Medical History up to date. To do this I recommend anytime something new comes up, whether it be a new treatment or health problem, that you record it as soon as possible. At the very least look over your Medical History a couple of times a year and make any updates and then print out an updated copy for your HW. You don’t need to go into massive amounts of detail. You just want to create a document that can be looked over quickly and easily if an emergency arises or to update a new member of your Medical Team. Your History may look like the following….


  • New Pain Management regime started in Feb.
  • C. Difficle diagnosed in May, cleared by June. 1 week in ICU, 7 weeks on Vancomycin.
  • Seizure in November. Possible causes low O2 or hypoglycemia.
  • New portacath inserted in right arm.
  • Whooping Cough booster in August.

You get the idea. You just need a brief timeline that can be scanned quickly. If someone wants further details they can look at your Admission/Clinic Outcome Journal, Medication list etc. Having an up to date Medical History helps you keep on top of things during clinics or admissions and can help you get details quickly. I use mine to jog my memory when I have forgotten when something happened or if I confuse dates etc. Once again, this is not an exercise in “how sick you really are”, don’t let your list get you down. Remember knowledge is power and being organised is can a life saver. And doctors love a pro-active patient!

Admission/Clinic Outcome Journal

Hospital admissions and clinics are part and parcel of your health journey and I don’t know any patient that does not have a diary of some sort to record dates and times of appointments or admissions. An Admission/Clinic Outcome Journal is an extension of that. Whether you simply use your current diary or have a special diary is up to you. I have a Moleskin diary that I use to record everything. And at the end of every year I archive that years journal. Throwing it away would be ridiculous, I have had to refer to old diaries many times to be able to find specific details, dates or times. It is also useful for looking at symptom patterns. So what should you record in your Journal? Anything and everything that could be needed in the future. For admissions I include:

  • What the admission was for.
  • The dates of the admission (including admission and discharge).
  • Any issues or problems during the admission.
  • The details of any thing important including the doctor that you dealt with, the date and outcome if resolved during the admission.

If your Medical Team sends you a discharge letter when you get home keep a copy of that with your MW also. It can help you keep track of medication changes, treating doctors and so on. For clinics I often include the following information….

  • Medications needed from pharmacy.
  • Medication changes (doses, new medications, etc)
  • Current symptoms or issues (more nausea than usual, cramps, etc).
  • Any forms that needed to be filled out or details that need to be changed.
  • Any other news or updates. Your doctors also like to hear any good news that is going on in your world too, if something exciting has happened, let them know. When you have such a close “working” relationship with your team it is nice for them to hear about any of your wins. It really does give them a boost too.

Whether you include this information in your daily diary or separate in your MW just make sure that you keep it updated regularly and keep it somewhere that is easily accessible during an emergency.

Well, that concludes the Medical Workbook series! This is not the be all and end all of health management and you do not HAVE to create a Medical Workbook to be a good patient, the idea is for you to take any part that could help in your health management and create something that will fit into your life. Being proactive about your health care is quite empowering and really shows your team that you take your health seriously. How you do it is up to you, as long as you stay positive and organised your health can only benefit.

Take care, Lily.

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To go over the Medical Workbook series, Part 1 can be read again here and Part 2 here.

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