Journal to record health history

Health at hand . . . Author Andrea Kidd and Project Bruce’s Kim Schiller (right) plan the future of Mrs Kidd’s new health journal last week. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

A ‘‘user-friendly health journal for anyone’’ by a Milton author is ready to hit the shelves.

So What Happens Now? was designed by Andrea Kidd to help people record and maintain their own health and medical journey.

‘‘Anyone’s health story is complicated and long-term, whether it’s injury recovery, a sudden diagnosis, or just growing older,’’ Mrs Kidd said.

‘‘So we’ve included everything to give the owner more organised awareness and responsibility over their health care, because that gives them and whoever they trust to advocate for them more control.’’

As well as simple forms with questions and spaces to write personal and family details and medical activity, there are tables for recording visits and outcomes from health specialists, prescriptions, tests and results.

The journal also contains lists of questions to ask health professionals, advice on nutrition, exercise, mental wellbeing and motivation.

Mrs Kidd said she had been considering the idea for a long time and started work on it about a year ago.

The first run of books arrived from the publisher two weeks ago.

‘‘Last month my mother-in-law was extremely lucky to have her four sons with her at home when the floods hit Auckland . . . There was a crash, and out of nowhere a waterfall coming over the fence.

‘‘They knew they’d have to evacuate but she’s partially blind, in her 90s and it took two hours to find everything, including her medical necessities,’’ Mrs Kidd said.

‘‘That’s when it hit home to us to have your medical history and health needs collected in one book you can just grab and go.’’

Community organisation Project Bruce was quick to pick up on the potential of So What Happens Now?, and last Thursday Mrs Kidd met community development worker Kim Schiller at Milton Hub to organise its distribution and promotion.

‘‘One of our aspirational areas is supporting elder care,’’ Mrs Schiller said.

‘‘So this is an excellent opportunity to do that — by supporting a creative local person who’s come up with an inspired initiative.’’

Mrs Kidd said she had consulted health experts, including at Otago University and as far away as Sweden, and feedback had been very positive. ‘‘I asked what we’d missed but they couldn’t think of anything,’’ Mrs Kidd said.

‘‘Then we realised we could include first aid, instructions on returning hospital equipment like crutches and consideration for carers.

‘‘Doctors are good at thinking like doctors but for a book like this you have to think like a patient and ask ‘what will I need if I get diagnosed with diabetes, or Alzheimer’s or break a bone?’ ’’

So What Happens Next will soon be available through selected outlets, Project Bruce and a dedicated website.

‘‘Apps aren’t for everyone, and anyone who remembers a Plunket book will get how it works.

‘‘Grab a pen, turn to page 1 and follow the prompts — your doctor can write in it, too.

‘‘Anyone you let access your journal will get a fuller picture of you as a real person, and that can only improve your care,’’ Mrs Kidd said.