As a Senior Housing Advocate, I speak to people in the midst of a transition from a home care setting to a variety of senior communities.

This type of move can be overwhelming and stressful times during which there’s a lot of information to keep track of. Preparing for a transition in care will ensure that crucial aspects of the patients’ medical information and plans of care are communicated properly. In most cases, there are a number of care providers involved, and it will benefit both patients and caregivers when everyone is aware of next steps.

Here is one of many tips I’ll be providing as you think about your next move:

Avoid Medication Mix-ups

Make a list of all medications. Patients and family members should keep a list in their wallet and make sure someone speaks to a geriatric pharmacist. Many times the elderly are overmedicated and medication interactions can cause as many problems as they were intended to solve. Always use the same pharmacy, and communicate with them regularly. When multiple doctors are seeing a patient, they aren’t always aware of possible interactions.

Having something to show providers during a hospital admission is helpful too, especially if medications need to be changed during a stay. Your hospital providers can help you reconcile the medications you took prior to hospitalization with the medications you’ll need to take when you are discharged.

Click here for a form that you can use to keep track of all medications.

Providing Your Medical History

You may also want to consider expanding the medication record to include your medical history. Information to include in your medical history are names and contact information of your healthcare providers, emergency contacts, medical and long-term care insurance information, conditions and illnesses you’ve been treated for, surgeries and tests you’ve had and when, and copies of health care proxies or living wills.