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Getting Organized

TRANSCRIPT

ALAN
Okay. Now the next thing I want to talk about with you two is something called case management. What it means is how you organize or coordinate the care that Reid receives. A big part of it is how you set up and keep track of his medical and his military records. The more prepared you are, the better. I cannot stress that enough. It’ll help you feel like you have all the right, and relevant information when you’re making important decisions for Reid. Even though it might be tiresome at first, in the end it’ll really help reduce stress because you’ll know that you have all the information you need in one place.

GILLIAN
Sorry if this seems like an obvious question, but when you say everything’s in one place… are you talking about a notebook or a folder or something?

ALAN
Exactly. Because service members or veterans with TBI can have so many different care-related tasks going on at the same time, you may find it easiest to have a large three ring binder with tabs or some other file folder or notebook that allows you to keep separate sections. You could also organize and track tasks on an electronic device, smartphone or computer.

SCOTT
What kind of information should we keep?

ALAN
Anything that’s related to Reid’s medical history. Examples would be a “Medications” section where you can file all the medications that have been prescribed by Reid’s provider along with their possible side effects. You should also keep information about any medications he’s allergic to and a medication log that records what he’s taking, the dosage, any side effects or problems he’s experiencing. You’ll find a form for logging medication in your Guide for Caregivers.

GILLIAN
Okay, that makes sense.

ALAN
Another section should be a “Surgery” or “Hospitalization” section with all the information about surgeries and hospital stays that he’s had since the injury. A “Seizure” section that documents every time he has a seizure is another good example. You could have one section or even several with medical test and imaging results.

SCOTT
Like MRIs and CT scans?

ALAN
Exactly. You’ll also want to include a section or sections for “Personal” and “Military Information” as well as emergency contacts. You can have a “Resources” or “Information” section where you can keep all the forms and information you receive at Reid’s appointments. I would suggest you also have a special section to write any questions or concerns that you want to address with his healthcare team.

GILLIAN
What about benefit paperwork and stuff like that?

ALAN
Definitely. You may want to keep a separate notebook or file to keep the size manageable. But yes, you should absolutely keep all that paperwork on file and easily accessible. Anything about medical and family benefits, the Medical Evaluation Board, the Physical Evaluation Board. You may have heard those called MEB and PEB. The benefits file should also include things like Reid’s social security number, military record, health insurance card, his Power of Attorney, his birth certificate. You’ll want to have back-up copies of those things as well.

SCOTT
Good grief.

ALAN
I know it sounds overwhelming at first. But believe me, once you have all the paperwork together and it’s organized, you’ll be glad it’s all in one location. And remember, you’re not alone. I’m here to help you. The healthcare providers, and therapists, all the specialists working with Reid, they’re all there to help you figure this out as well. And don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for support and assistance.

GILLIAN
Of course. We’ll reach out if we need more guidance with this.

ALAN
Okay. There’s one last thing that I want to talk about, and that’s Reid’s finances, more specifically paying his bills. Are either of you listed on any of his accounts or authorized to make transactions in those accounts?

SCOTT
No, we’re not.

ALAN
Okay, well that’s something you’re definitely going to want to do. Get your names added to his accounts so that you can make sure his bills are being paid. You might need legal assistance to get added to his accounts, but it’s really important. It may be possible that he’s already signed up for online banking and automatic bill pay. That would absolutely make managing his finances easier. But if he’s not, I would consider signing up for those things so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re busy taking care of Reid.

SCOTT
I’ll handle the finances if you get started organizing the paperwork.

GILLIAN
Deal.