Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
What is a home chart or a travelling client record?

If the person receiving care is being cared for at home, communication between you and the various health care providers will be key as you try to keep track of important information. One way of doing this is to use a home chart. This is basically a communication tool between the family caregiver, health care provider(s) and the care recipient; it travels with the care recipient.

Home chart tools are used in palliative care, and the Hospice Society in Victoria provides one that is interdisciplinary and includes family and community health workers. If you can’t get hold of theirs (part of the ―At Home Manual‖ given out by home care nursing staff), you can make your own. All you really need is a binder, dividers and paper.

Important information to include on a home chart

Some of the sections of information that are usually covered in a home chart are:

  • Contact information (e.g., name and phone numbers of doctor, care providers, support services, specialists, family members, and so forth).
  • Current medications (e.g., any allergies; amount and how often medicine is given, including over the counter drugs vitamins, herbs and homeopathic remedies; date that each prescription was last filled; any unusual occurrences or reactions to medications given; what food or activities should be avoided).
  • Medical information (e.g., brief medical history, date and reason of last visit to physician, any specific health concerns to be attended to, date and reason for hospital or facility admission).
  • Charting of daily routine, health care and/or interactions with health care providers (e.g., could be a communication log for various health care providers to note on a day to day, week to week or regular basis, how the care receiver is doing, what the exercise regimen is, how rehabilitation is going, nutritional needs, and so forth).
  • Plan of care (e.g., outline of assistance and care needed and any relevant instructions (e.g., incontinence care, how to operate equipment).

The use of a home chart is entirely voluntary; however, there are several reasons why using one can help. Home charts can:

  • promote a link between the patient and health care providers.
  • improve co-ordination of care.
  • reduce stress for the care receiver by removing the need to
  • tell one’s story over and over.
  • reduce stress for the family caregiver by removing the need to tell the story several times over.
  • track trends about what works or doesn’t work for the care receiver.
  • help inform health care professionals and provide an orientation to the ongoing care needs of the care recipient.

A Home chart may be considered for use with:

  • anyone living at home with complex health issues or prolonged chronic need for care.
  • anyone receiving care from two or more service providers.

Some points to remember:

  • When filling out the chart, use a pencil, as prescriptions will probably change over time.
  • Include all non-prescribed medications.
  • Try to use the same pharmacist, as he/ she is a key member of your health care team. Using the same pharmacist will allow him/her to keep an eye out for errors and potentially dangerous combinations.

A sample home chart (for medication) is offered on the following page.

One person’s experience:

“Five years ago we started a home chart based on the palliative care model. It is very low tech. When used it is very effective. Hospital admissions are inevitable for someone like my mother at the end of her life, so a home chart provides a quick detail of things like medical history and current medications. The paramedics are ever so grateful for the summary of my mother’s medical situation and her medications which I have at the ready for such times.”

A home chart helps you keep track of important information about the care recipient – information that you may routinely need to share with healthcare providers, such as paramedics, hospital emergency staff or the general practitioner.