Doctor Patient Communication: Set Up Your Own Migraine Summary Document
For many of us living with migraine disease the task of keeping all the pertinent details about our medications, treatments, symptoms and care providers straight is incredibly burdensome. It can be tempting to cut corners when we see a new doctor simply because it is so much work to provide all the relevant details when you're living with pain and other debilitating symptoms. This is dangerous. Our doctors need the whole picture to safely provide us with the best care.
For me the answer to this problem has been to develop my own health care summary document. My document is a simple word processing file, which I keep on my computer and online on Google Docs. This allows me to access the file through my smart phone if I face an unexpected appointment and don't have a chance to print out a hard copy.
I update my document every time there is a change in my medications, treatments, symptoms or diagnoses. I print a copy to bring with me to every doctors' appointment and leave it with them if they want to include it in my file.
Although I didn't develop it for this purpose, my document has also been very useful when I've had to seek emergency treatment for an acute attack that didn't respond to my regular treatment medications. Both nurses and doctors appreciate having all the relevant information written down in front of them and the easy ability to contact my regular doctors to discuss the proper way to address my migraine attacks. Furthermore, like many of you, my communication skills and thinking are sometimes compromised by a migraine attack, making it difficult to share the relevant information and remember everything they need to know to safely provide me with care.
These are the pieces of information I include in my document:
- Full name
- Contact Information
- Name and address of each doctor I work with
- List of current medications with doses and frequency
- Description of my symptoms
- History of my migraine disease
- Relevant family history
- Treatments I've tried
- Medications I've tried
You can see a sample of my document here: Migraine Summary Document Example. Do you have suggestions for making the document more useful? Please share your ideas!
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?