How to Keep a Medical Journal

A medical journal is a place to gather and record medical information. It will be helpful for many reasons:

      You and your service member will be able to stay organized and find information easily, including information you may need when applying for benefits.

      Future caregivers will be able to contact specialists who have provided care and locate medical records as they adapt treatment plans for your service member.

      It will help you send thanks, if you want to, to people who have provided care.  This journal was designed with advice from family members of other wounded, ill, or injured service members. Here are some suggestions from them:

Make it yours
Rearrange sections, add more tabs and pages, highlight or color-code items. Change it as much as you want so it meets your needs and is easy to use.

Make it a habit
It can be helpful to set aside a regular time every day for recording medical information. If you skip a few days you may find that important information is lost and that it takes a lot of work to catch up again.

Record personal as well as clinical information
You may want to supplement this medical journal with a spiral-bound notebook or a calendar with large spaces you can write in. This way you can write down things that happened, including important medical events like x-rays or scans, small milestones like eating without help, or your feelings about the recovery process. It will help you keep track of the recovery process and is likely to become a treasured personal record later on. You might also want to record notes about your service member’s feelings and states of mind, which could be valuable to a mental health professional.