Can I contact ACAT (the Aged Care Assessment Team) without a referral?
Yes, but it is better if a referral is sent, sooner or later, to the ACAT team about the person in question.
Where do I go to have my tests done?
Look on the back of the form - for pathology and imaging there is a map. If there is not map, look at the printed part of the form, it will normally have the address, as well as the telephone number.
How do I know if my specialist referral has been done yet?
If your doctor is able to prepare your referral on-the-spot in the consultation, then that is best (and increasingly this can be done by doctors who are 'computerised'). Otherwise, you can either ask our receptionists, or ring the specialist concerned to ask if the referral has been sent. Note that we normally send all referrals by fax, so that they cannot be lost by the patient or Australia Post.
How do I book to see the specialist?
Just ring them up and make an appointment. Your doctor will more thank likely give you the telephone number in the consultation (and even the referral, see "How do I know if my specialist referral has been done yet?"). If you have trouble making appointments for yourself, our reception staff will be happy to assist.
How important is it that I keep my specialist appointment?
In almost every case it is vital that you keep your specialist appointment. It is particularly important because the symptoms that you do have may require early diagnosis and treatment, or you may have already have a known serious condition (such as heart disease or cancer) where unnecessary delay could be very bad for you.
The message is, don't miss your specialist appointment and, if
you do, ring up, tell them why you couldn't make it, and ask for a new appointment. If you think that
your condition has deteriorated since seeing your GP and while
waiting for your specialist appointment to come around, contact
us so that we can do something about it.
What do I have to do before my pathology or imaging test?
It depends. You should ask you doctor as the test form is being prepared, before you leave the surgery. You can also ring pathology or imaging (the telephone number is on the form) and ask them. For 'fasting' tests such as blood sugar or cholesterol, just don't have any breakfast and show up without an appointment as soon as the laboratory or collecting center opens (opening hours are printed on the back of the form).
Some tests such as pregnancy ultrasound, barium enemas, and certain scans such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) require special consideration regarding preparation, and you should always ask about this when making an appointment.
I take warfarin/ Coumadin/ Marevan tablets to thin my blood, and I have to have regular blood tests to make sure the dose is right, what should I do?
We have a system that will help you, your doctor will discuss this with you when you visit. Normally, we arrange for you to have permanent regular blood testing with the local pathology laboratory. This test is referred to as an "INR" test.
This tells us how "thin" you blood is. Your INR needs to be kept within a certain range, depending on the condition for which you have been prescribed warfarin.
You will have your test in the morning on a particular nominated weekday, and then you will ring us in the afternoon to be advised of the result, and what you should (if anything) regarding your dose of warfarin to take, and when you should have your next test. Once your dose of warfarin is stable, monthly blood testing is usually recommended.
I take warfarin/ Coumadin/ Marevan tablets to thin my blood, and I have developed marked bruising, or have noticed blood in my urine, or have bleeding that doesn't stop (such as a 'blood nose' or epistaxsis), what should I do?
This is an urgent problem and you should contact us or the Launceston General Hospital without delay. It may mean that your warfarin dose is too strong (even if it has been stable in the past), and that urgent testing and possibly treatment is required.
I take warfarin/ Coumadin/ Marevan tablets to thin my blood, and I am going to have an operation, or see the dentist to have a dental operation, what should I do?
It is important that the doctor or dentist performing the operation knows in advance that you are on warfarin, as special arrangements are usually required to avoid excessive bleeding. You should discuss this with your doctor so that arrangements can be made.
I take warfarin to thin my blood, does it matter which brand that I take?
Yes, it is essential that you and your doctor settle on a particular brand of warfarin (currently there are two brands generally available, Coumadin and Marevan).
This is because the 'potency' of the same milligram dose of either brand cannot be guaranteed, and so mixing and changing brands could lead to an undesirable change in your INR test result. Also see "Are there any concerns with generic substitution of medications that a doctor has prescribed?" elsewhere in this FAQ.
I have a pacemaker, is there any problem with having certain scans?
Yes. MRI scanning is contraindicated (you shouldn't have it) because it can cause the pacemaker to malfunction.