Have you ever tried to set up an appointment, talk to a VA Provider or other Representative, or even dared to ask for a refill of a medication? It’s a…process, to say the least.
One of the biggest problems I have run into when dealing with the VA as a Caregiver and Spouse of a Veteran is the sheer amount of people I have to deal with on a regular basis! I mean, it seems as though the VA has a person FOR EVERY LITTLE THING!
I guess it makes things easier, because all I need to do is figure out what my or my Vet’s problem is, who to talk to, what their number is, hope that they CAN help, figure out how to clearly communicate the problem we are having, hope and pray a little more that the person I just called CAN help, and do this a couple of times over until I finally get a hold of the person I apparently should’ve spoken to in the first place and NOT be aggravated by the time I speak to them!
So to cut down on frustration I have tried to be a bit more organized. If you’ve read a little about me, you know that I am my husband’s caregiver AND my son’s (who is this super bright Asperger’s kid) caregiver as well. This means that I have to deal with a multitude of people, therapists and medical providers. One day I literally went bat-ish insane, because I had a stack of papers with all of these people’s names and numbers on them. Then I had random pieces of paper and notes with more names and numbers flying around my house. So I decided ‘That’s it! I will get my stuff together and consolidate these papers…like NOW!’
So I tried to find medication logs online to make my life easier, but I couldn’t find one that I liked or was simple enough for me and my personal taste. Don’t get me wrong, the FDA and VA have very detailed medication and provider logs, but I need something that is simple and doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. I already deal with enough extras on a daily basis.
So the Improv Caregiver that I am, decided to create my own! 🙂
(Simple) Medication Log
I’ve grown to like things that are simple! Here is a screen shot of how simple this log really is:
There are 5 columns. Does anyone else get confused with difference between rows and columns? I seriously confused myself and almost wrote rows instead of columns. Ugh..anyway! The 5 columns allow for me to write in the name of the medication and its Rx number, how much of it is to be taken, when and how it is to be taken, why it is being prescribed, and who prescribed it. One of the great things about the VA medication labels is that pretty much all of them have the same or a very similar layout; making finding the information relatively easy.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how I’ve filled out this medication log:
1) Medication Name and Rx Number
The name and especially the Rx number of the medication have come in quite when we’ve had problems with my husband’s refills. Therefore, I recommend getting familiar with at least the names and the reason for taking the medication. The name should be in bold and capitalized letters toward the bottom left of the label. The Rx number should be located toward the top right hand corner.
2) How much?
This is where I note the dosage of the medication and how much of it is to be taken. The dose should be located next to the name of the medication. The times the medication is to be taken should be right underneath the Veteran’s name. Example: Medication X, 20mg, 2x a day.
3) When and How?
This is where I note when and how the medication is to be taken. This should be located underneath the Veteran’s name as well. Example: Every morning by mouth.
This is where I write WHAT the medication is for. I have noticed that sometimes it states on the label what the medication is for, but others it does not. This is where I feel it is important to have good communication with the provider. I personally recommend that if the label does not state WHAT the medication is for and your Veteran (or you) do not know WHY they are being prescribed this medication, ASK!
This is where I write the name of the Provider who prescribed the medication. The name of the Provider should be close to the top left corner, directly underneath the name of the Pharmacy that filled the prescription. This information could come in handy when/if there are issues with the medication as well.
Here is an example of how I fill out the Medication Log:
The Provider log is also quite simplistic, too. All I wanted is to have the name and the number handy, but added the specialty and location for my husband’s convenience. This way, when I remind him of an appointment he can see where and with whom it is. Since we live in a relatively rural area, we have to travel to the medical center (about an hour away) and the CBOC (about 45 minutes away); which makes every trip a chore in itself. But that’s a different story. Every kind of preparation could be beneficial; that’s what I hope for. So anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how I filled out the Provider log:
1) Provider Name:
This is where I write the name of the Provider.
This is where I write the Specialty of the Provider. I write something along the lines of Mental Health or Neuro; as long as he can tell what it’s for and he knows who he will be dealing with.
As I’ve mentioned above, we have to travel quite a distance to the different facilities. I am sure many of y’all know what I mean. Often times just the thought of having to go to the Medical Center gives my Vet anxiety, simply because of the sheer distance and the fact that he’s confined to the vehicle for that time. So, I try to tell him where the appointment is beforehand. This is why I added the location to the log.
4) Phone #:
Does the VA seem to have about a gazillion-and-one different numbers or is it just me? And not to mention the extensions for every person or department associated with the VA! So, having the numbers to the Providers and representatives we are in contact the most is quite nice. I definitely recommend adding extensions as appropriate to this list.
Here is an example of how I would fill out this Provider log:
I hope this post is helpful to you. Dealing with medications and different providers can be confusing, frustrating and downright exhausting. Whether you are dealing with the VA or civilian providers.
Share this post with other caregivers, spouses, family members and friends who may have found themselves frustrated with dealing with multiple providers!
Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.