Managing chronic and serious illness: First Things First: Get organized

You will have to try to understand medical terms and will have to deal with numerous doctors and nurses. The sheer volume of new information as well as the “busy”ness of the clinicians working in a fast paced system will be stressful.

Additionally, you have to deal with the day today uncertainty of new lab tests and procedures and wait for the results. You are at risk of getting confused and overwhelmed very quickly. It is crucial that you have a good understanding of the situation as you may have to make some high stake decisions.

One of the first things to have to do is to get organized!

We suggest that you obtain a small notebook/ or an electronic notebook and keep it with you. You may use this notebook to jot down ideas or questions that you have, to make “to do” lists, and to keep track of who the various people are caring for your loved-one and how to contact them.

  • You will likely think of questions you want to ask the doctor the next time you see her/him. You should make a list of these questions.
  • You might copy suggestions and lists of questions from this booklet that you think might be useful.
  • You may also want to create files for different types of paperwork – medical records, business cards, bills, and insurance paperwork for example.


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