Thursday, March 17, 2011

Medicine Charts for Sick Kids

Dealing with sick, cranky kids is never pleasant. And in our house, sick kids = a poor night's sleep. A poor night's sleep = an extra forgetful mummy.

One thing we're guilty of in the past, is forgetting to give our kids their prescribed medicines. A bit silly really when we've made the effort to go to the doctor's, paid for the medicine and have a child who is desperate to feel normal again. 

With my own little poppet battling a very nasty chest infection, I created a Medicine Chart to a). remind me to give her the medicine and b). keep track of each dosage given. 

Below is a copy of my daughter's Medicine Chart, but you can easily create your own customised Medicine Chart on the computer or even on a blank piece of paper.

 How To Create Your Own Medicine Chart:
1. Open a Program - I use Publisher for almost everything, but you can create your chart in Excel, Word or any other program that can have a table inserted. If using paper, have a ruler handy.

2. Add Your Information - At the top of the chart, clearly identify who the chart is for (with the child's full name), with the dosage amount, how often the dosage needs to be given and where the medicine should be stored all written down too. This information will prove handy for any other parents, carers or babysitters looking after your child during this time.

3. Insert a Table - Select the amount of rows and columns that work with the medicine's dosage requirements. I created a column for each required dosage (three times daily) plus a column to label what day of the week it is. Then create enough rows for each day of the week or until the medicine runs out.

4. Other Medication - On the demo chart above, I also added room to keep track of Panadol usage. When your little one is dealing with pain and high fevers at all hours and you're dealing with sleep deprivation, it can be difficult to keep track of each Panadol dosage given or if there's been enough time since their last dose. Allowing room to record each dosage and preferably at what time, will ensure you don't exceed the daily limit written on the label. If your child is on additional medication (as per your doctor's approval), you may wish to add additional rows for this or create a separate chart.

5. Print it Off - Keep your Medicine Chart on the fridge or any other visible area. Keep a pen close by to tick off and record each dosage.
If you have a repeat prescription, simply print off a new chart to record this new information. You may want to destroy or remove the old chart to avoid confusion.
If you have multiple children who are sick, I would recommend using ONE chart for EACH child. Try colour coding them for easier reference.

If you do use one of these Medicine Charts, be sure to let your partner know and let them know how to use it. In our house, however, we find it works best when one person (usually me) is the Chief Medicine Giver and is therefore responsible for all medicine administrations, unless otherwise specified.

For us, this chart means my daughter's getting her medicine in the dosage it was intended and helps my baby get better sooner. I know when my sleep is being disturbed, the days can start blurring into one, so this nifty chart takes away the stress of remembering each dosage on my own.

Here's hoping you all have a healthy run through the dreaded 'cold and flu season' and don't have to use this Medicine Chart too many times!

P.S. Got your own tips on keeping track of medications? Let us know.