There is nothing worse than going into your supply closet for a particular item only to discover you have run out. Even worse is if it late at night, early in the morning or it’s an item that must be ordered online and you must wait for it to be shipped to you. Unfortunately, I have not always been a good planner and I tend to be a little disorganized. However, after running out of items and scrambling to make something work in the past, I have taught myself to be much better about staying on top of ordering the necessary supplies.
My husband has an SP tube which requires catheters, insertion trays, bedside and leg bags. We have a company that handles all of those supplies and they email me every month letting me know my order is about due and do I need to make any changes. When I get that email, if I am unsure of my current supplies, I check them before responding. I absolutely love that they email me and I don’t have to try to remember to place my order. If you are working with a medical supply company that doesn’t call or email you a reminder, you might as if they can set that up for you.
My husband also recently had a colostomy surgery and now requires all the supplies for that. We use a different medical supply company for those supplies and they call me when my order is due. I simply call them back and use the automated reorder system to place the order. Again, I don’t have to remember to order because they call and remind me.
However, there are some supplies, as I am sure you all know quite well, that insurance doesn’t pay for. I order those from Allegro Medical which has always provided great products, prices and shipping. I make sure that when I order from them, I get enough to cover our needs for at least 6 months and that also helps me reach the required amount for free shipping.
When the boxes of supplies arrive, I try to unpack and put them away as soon as I have time. As I put them on their designated shelfs (I have a small walk in closet with one full section of shelves dedicated to his supplies). As I add new supplies, I make sure to organize what is already there and make note of any other products that might be running low. If I see an item that I know we will need to reorder soon, I add it to a list on my phone. That way, when I am ready to place an order, I simply open up the Medical Supplies list on my phone and order the necessary items.
I don’t know about your brain, but my 43-year-old brain struggles to remember things. So, if I don’t write down what I will need to order in the very moment that I notice it, I will most likely forget to order it and that never ends well. I have created all kinds of lists for my sanity on my iPhone. I use my phone because too many times I have made a written list only to get to a store and realize my list is still sitting on the counter at home. I use the Notes app and simply create folders, and then create lists that fit with that folder. For example, I have a folder labeled “Shopping Lists”. When I click on that folder, I have a “note” for each store that I regularly shop at or order from. When I realize I am out of toothpaste for instance, I go to my Walmart list and type in toothpaste. That way, when I place my Walmart pick up order, all I have to do is look at my list and order using the app…everything can be done from my phone!! ***WARNING: RABBIT TRAIL*** If you don’t have Walmart pick up in your area, I am so sorry, but if you do…it is awesome. I can do all my grocery shopping online, pay and then schedule a time to pick up. There is NO extra charge!! Then when I arrive at the store, they bring my groceries to my car, put them into my bags (we live in CA) and load them into my vehicle while I sit in the comfort of my car!! This amazing shopping option also makes it possible for my husband to grocery shop if I am sick. He can simply drive up and have them load the groceries into his van, he never has to get out or even take one of our kids with him to push the cart. I know there are grocery delivery options out there and those are great too…but they cost more money and I know many of us are budget conscious so I just wanted to share this awesome Walmart feature if you didn’t already know about it. Here is a link to save $10 off your first Grocery Pick Up order: http://r.wmt.co/h4gm0
I know some people like to keep actual inventory lists, but I will admit to you that I am just not that organized nor do I have the time or energy to stay on top of that. However, if you have outside caregivers you might consider keeping an inventory since you may not be the person using certain items and therefore might be unaware when they are low or out of stock.
When placing orders online, I always try to think ahead over the next 6 months to be sure I have ordered enough products. It is good to think about any trips you might be taking or special circumstances that might require ordering more of certain products.
Be sure you compare prices between different online medical supply companies because some are better than others and some will offer to beat any competitors pricing! I have also found items at times on eBay or amazon, I am always on the look out for a way to save my family money.
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