When Julie Parson and her husband, Army Veteran Woodrow “Woody” Young, go to his medical appointments, she always brings a folder full of his medical records – just in case.
“If they need to reference something, I can pull out the records and they are always appreciative that I have it,” she said.
Young said he’s in “pretty good shape” for a 60-year-old. But keeping track of his medical records – from VA and from other care facilities – can still be challenging.
“It’s like a part time job on its own,” he added. But being prepared is an important part of being her husband’s care advocate, Parsons says. It’s a labor of love.
Young, who has granted his wife power of attorney to help him manage his care, is grateful for the effort. “She loves me, and I love her. She’s always helped with my care and makes it so easy for me. I admire her for it. Who knows if I would still be living if I didn’t have her?”
My HealtheVet one of her favorite tools
In her role as a caregiver, Parson says that one of her favorite tools is My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient records platform. Parson helps Young use My HealtheVet to access and print the VA records that she brings to his appointments, among many other things.
“We refill prescriptions, access the portals to print his lab work, keep track of his cholesterol and contact providers on Secure Messaging,” she said.
Young, who served in Germany from 1982 to 1986, started using VA for his care about 15 years ago. “VA was right down the street from our home in Des Moines and their service was great,” he said. “VA care has been great for me.”
After one of his first appointments at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, Young got a brochure about My HealtheVet. Young acknowledged that he is not very tech savvy so Parson helped him set up his account.
“It just makes things very easy.”
“Now, we use all aspects of it, and it just makes things very easy,” she added. “My HealtheVet has been awesome.”
In addition to the health tools on My HealtheVet, Parson said she gets valuable information from reading the My HealtheVet newsletter. And Parson said she appreciates the measures that VA has in place to keep Young’s health information secure.
“VA is very serious about who they give information to on behalf of the Vet,” she added. “It’s been nice on my end, knowing that his information is being protected.”
After a pair of recent moves – from Iowa to South Carolina and then to Georgia – Parson and Young are settling into a new home. They also have a new facility for Young’s care: the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia.
Helped keep VA care seamless
Parson’s caregiving responsibilities have continued during the moves. Along with keeping track of Young’s medical records, Parson has been in contact with VA travel staff to keep his VA care as seamless as possible.
She also helped Young set up his first video telehealth appointment through VA Video Connect. “It went perfectly. If you’re not going to do a physical exam, virtual is the way to go,” she said.
And when Parson and Young go for their first appointment at the Carl Vinson VAMC, Parson will be sure to bring her folder of records and test results printed from My HealtheVet.
To learn more and create an account, visit My HealtheVet.
Treva Lutes is the communications lead for the Office of Connected Care.