Nine tips to consider when you need a pathology test

The Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt, Diabetes Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Diabetes Society are urging people living with diabetes to continue accessing health care services. In particular, routine pathology checks. The pathology sector has recorded a significant drop in tests for diabetes, which is causing some concern.

If you require regular check-ups with your health care team, whether that be through telehealth or face-to-face consultations, then you should maintain this care plan. Furthermore, if your health condition requires blood tests, please keep doing them.

Your doctor may request a blood test for many reasons. For instance, to check if the medication you are taking is within the therapeutic range. Or to check that medications are not causing other health concerns. Pathology is part of your diabetes annual cycle of care. It is needed to determine if your present management of diabetes is effective or a change of treatment is warranted. Pathology provides vital information that enables effective, individualised treatment from your health care team.

Pathology centres have protocols in place to protect you and their staff. These protocols take into consideration the nature of how the corona virus is transmitted, the government’s expectations in relation to social distancing; the use of electronic pathology request forms, the timing of pathology tests, where these tests are to be performed, the assessment of staff capabilities and training, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and steps for cleaning and disinfecting the environment.

When you need a pathology test you can help yourself by:

  1. Phoning your closest pathology clinic to discuss timing. Booking an appointment will enable the clinic time between clients for cleaning and social distancing.
  2. Discussing with the clinic waiting locations. Some clinics may prefer that you wait in your car.
  3. Explaining over the phone your present health conditions. Some clinics have a separate room for those at risk of complications if they contract the corona virus.
  4. Remembering that not all pathology centres test for the corona virus.
  5. Being prepared to see staff members wearing a mask, gown, face shield or goggles and disposable gloves if you are being tested for the corona virus (COVID-19). This is standard contact and droplet precautions.
  6. Taking your own pen to use. Reduce contact with surfaces as the corona virus can survive on surfaces outside the body.
  7. Maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters whenever possible. Refer to this website for more information.
  8. Understanding the corona virus. Refer to this website to dispel any myths about corona virus.
  9. Clean hands with the alcoholic hand wash/gel/foam provided at the pathology clinics.

Avoid health problems in the future. Do not ignore or delay health care treatment as recommended by your health care team. All pathology clinics have protocols in place that consider the corona virus. These protocols are there to protect you during your visit.


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