Tips For Staying Organized To Combat Cancer Treatment Stress
How to Design Your Own Organizational Structure
If you or a loved one is facing cancer, you are all too aware of the ups and downs that come with the condition. Not to mention the massive amount of treatment data to collect and track. It is simple to feel overwhelmed. How do you determine what information you truly require and what questions to ask, and how do you arrange it all?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build a strategy for organizing your cancer information. It’s remarkable how much stress may be reduced once your system is in place. “Having appointments, treatment information, personal information, and doctor information easily available for patients and their loved ones reduces a huge stress element and allows the patient to focus on recovering,” explains Josette Snyder, RN, MSN, AOCN.
Step 1: Select your method(s) of data collection
Will you take written notes? On a smartphone or a tablet? Both?
Some people learn and remember knowledge better when they take notes on paper and save them in notebooks and folders. Others may favor technology since information is more difficult to misplace. Calendar notifications on smartphones and tablets have made it simpler to keep track of appointments.
“Many patients continue to utilize a combination of electronic and paper,” Snyder explains. “They want to cover all of their bases and ensure that no crucial information falls between the gaps.”
How you capture information will most likely influence how you put the rest of your organizational system together.
Step 2: Determine what information you require to have at your fingertips
Decide what you need to have most easily available (information you might need to carry to your appointments) from all the information you’ve acquired so far, such as:
- A valid driver’s license or another form of identification
- Insurance documentation
- Questions have been prepared
- Medication listing
- Contact information in an emergency
On the other hand, consider what information you can save as long as you can readily find it if you need it.
Step 3: Make information categories
To assist with Step 2, divide the material into categories and then determine how to treat each one.
Cancer therapy classifications might include:
- Information about one’s own health.
- Scheduled appointments and doctor contact information
- Insurance and billing details
- Research and articles
- Legal documentation
Step 4: Subdivide categories into more specific information
Here are several lists of information that could fall into your cancer treatment categories and help you stay organized:
Personal medical information:
- Laboratory work and test results (ask for copies).
- The list of pharmaceuticals (prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins/supplements) has been updated. Every time you see a doctor, they will most likely ask you to evaluate your prescriptions.
- Records of treatment, including surgeries, radiation therapy (start and finish dates), and chemotherapy (drugs, dosages, start and stop dates).
Contact information and schedules:
- Appointments with doctors.
- Appointments for treatment
- Schedule for yourself/family member (or whoever is accompanying you to appointments).
- Numbers to remember (contact numbers for your healthcare team and pharmacy).
Insurance and billing details:
- Insurance policies and other insurance documentation
- Benefit records are explained.
- Bills and receipts for medical services, including prescriptions (these are helpful at tax time).
- Forms for advance directives, living wills, and healthcare power of attorney
- Wills, living trusts, and guardianship documents
Create a category for papers and research as well. This would include any instructional materials you would wish to preserve concerning your diagnosis and treatment.
Step 5: Create an organizational structure
You may begin to build an organizing system that matches your style now that you can picture the categories of information you will acquire.
You may create binders for each category and/or scan all papers and put them in a cloud-based storage program so you can access them from anywhere at any time.
With all of the organizing tools (both physical and digital) available, it’s crucial to take the time to categorize your cancer treatment information to minimize headaches and stress when looking for documents, notes, and so on. “By taking this step, you will be able to focus your efforts on feeling better and conquering cancer,” Snyder explains.