St. Marys, Ontario
When my son was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last year, I was overwhelmed with information. We had the specialist, the interns, the nurses and the dietician teaching us everything we needed to know about his medications, treatments and diet while I was still trying to process the diagnosis itself. I quickly learned that I would have to start keeping charts and records in order to ensure that my son was getting the best treatment possible.
What started as some rough tallies on a notepad in the hospital eventually became a digital recording of my son’s symptoms and appointments. Since we were trying to find the right treatment for my son, his medications and dosages were changing often and I had to keep charts so I would remember what he was supposed to get each day. His health and his treatments were in constant flux for those first several months and these charts were the only way I could provide a proper medical history when it was needed.
Over time his treatment has become more stable and my medicine charts have evolved into charts that I use to ensure we don’t accidentally give him something that interacts with his meds. Before giving him any over the counter medications or prescription meds, we share his medicine list with the doctor and/or pharmacist to ensure it’s okay for him to take.
Keeping Detailed Records
I am a firm believer that too much information is better than not enough, so I keep very detailed charts that include the following:
- Date of appointment and who he saw
- Height and weight at each appointment
- Treatment administered, including dosage
- Any other details that include the names of nurses or child life specialists that were particularly helpful, any distraction methods that worked well during treatment, etc.
For his medicine charts, I keep a detailed list of the following:
- Medicine name, including any generic name listed on the packaging
- Date prescribed, and who prescribed it
- Dosage, that includes frequency it is to be administered
- Any important notes about the med eg. take with food
- What to do if a dosage is missed, and what to do if an extra dose is taken (find this out even if you are sure it will never happen, because it’s easier to look at your notes in an emergency than it is to find the answer in a panic)
- What interactions there are with other prescriptions, over the counter medications or even if it causes sun sensitivity, etc.
You don’t need to have a child with a chronic condition to keep records. Having a record of all treatments and medication can help your doctor make the best choices for future treatments, and it can help you when using over the counter medications.
Tips for Administering Medication for Children
Here are some other important things to understand about medication and children:
- Read the Label: Medications with different names can have the same active ingredient or treat the same symptoms as another medication. It may look similar to another medication you have used but have a different dosage, or it could even be expired. Read it every time.
- Use Children’s Medication: Never give a child an adult medication, even with an adjusted dose.
- Follow Dosage Instructions: Use your child’s weight when determining the proper dosage.
- Measure Carefully: Read the label more than once to determine the correct measurement, and use a proper measurement tool.
- Do Not Give Children Under 18 ASA (Aspirin): Giving ASA to a child can cause a rare, life-threatening condition called Reye’s syndrome. Choose another fever-reducer medicine containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen that’s indicated for children.
- Be Alert When Administering Meds: Make sure you are awake, the lights are on and you have reviewed the label before giving your child a medication.
As parents we can’t always prevent our children from illness, but we can arm ourselves with the correct information and tools to ensure that they get the best treatment possible.