As the parent of a child with a hearing loss, you will accumulate a lot of paperwork. Keeping good records that are organised and easy to find is a good idea.
Why is keeping records important?
There are a few good reasons to keep records:
- To keep track of who you see and the outcome of each visit. Ask each professional to send a copy of their report to you for your records.
- To keep an accurate medical history for your child. You will be asked the same questions again and again and it helps to have all the information in one place.
- Keeping records such as test results, IEPs and school reports, shows you how your child is progressing and can help you decide when changes may be needed.
- There may be times when you need to advocate for your child to receive the services or support they need. Good records and documentation is vital in assisting you to be a good advocate for your child.
A complete well-organised record system needs a bit of effort on your part but will save you time and frustration in the long run. Motivating yourself to get started is the first step. And then developing a routine for maintaining records will help you keep up-to-date relatively easily.
The following list of possible records may be of some assistance in getting you started.
- List of professionals and their contact details.
- Medical reports
- Audiograms and audiological reports
- Educational assessments and reports
- Important correspondence (mail and emails) from professionals and service providers.
- Manuals and warranties for any devices
- Records of repairs and replacement parts for hearing aids, cochlear implants or other assistive listening devices
Although one parent will probably take responsibility for keeping the records together, it is a good idea for the other parent to have a knowledge of the system - where the records can be found and what they contain.
How should you store the information?
Having one place to store records can save time and energy. You can decide whether to store information in hard copy format or organise a computerised system. Personal electronic health records are also an option which allow you to access your health records anywhere in the world.
- Hard copy records
This is the simplest system. All you need are a few files, an index system and a hole punch. The system doesn't need to be elaborate but needs to be organised, complete and kept up-to-date.
- Computerised records
Paper records can become bulky over time. A system on your computer may be more convenient. Remember to back the information up regularly.
Maintain your computerised records by scanning any documents or asking the professional to email you a copy for your records. As with hard copy records, the system should suit your needs and be easy to organise and keep up-to-date.
Having information in digital format is also convenient when you go on holiday. Copy the latest audiogram and reports to a USB memory stick and keep this in your suitcase - you have no way of knowing when it may be needed.
Keeping good records about your deaf child is recommended. The system doesn't need to be complex but it should be organised and updated regularly.