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‘Path in Boots’ clinic delivering care to remote communities

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27th September, 2022

An award-winning project in northern NSW is delivering truly connected care and helping to close the gap for remote Indigenous communities. The mobile diabetes clinic, known as ‘Path in Boots’, takes pathology staff, GPs, Aboriginal health workers, dietitians and other allied health workers directly into the communities they are serving.

A mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary dia­betes clin­ic for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple has been on the road and deliv­er­ing care direct to patients in north­ern NSW since 2005.

Sci­en­tif­ic staff from NSW Health Pathology’s Lis­more Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Karen Kennedy, Steve Alvarez and Trish Law, are part of the Goorie Dia­betes Com­pli­ca­tion Assess­ment Clin­ics, tar­get­ing Abo­rig­i­nal clients aged 15 and over who have Type 2 Diabetes.

Rather than get patients from dis­tant Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties to come to Lis­more, a team of health pro­fes­sion­als trav­el to them.

They pack a ‘mobile lab’ of equip­ment into the boot of a car, referred to as ‘Path in Boots’.

The team returns to the same Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties reg­u­lar­ly to build rap­port and trust.

“The main thing with this ser­vice is the clients get every­thing all in one day,” said team mem­ber and senior hos­pi­tal sci­en­tist, Karen Kennedy.

“There are pathol­o­gy staff, a physi­cian, gen­er­al prac­ti­tion­er, dia­bet­ic edu­ca­tor, dietit­ian, phar­ma­cist, podi­a­trist, renal nurse, exer­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist as well as Abo­rig­i­nal health workers.

“We’re pret­ty com­mit­ted. We go on the road every month, although we have missed a few trips due to COVID and bush­fires in recent years.”

The mobile lab is just the first stop for patients attend­ing the clinics.

They give a urine sam­ple and have their bloods col­lect­ed and with­in 20 min­utes, get their results which they take with them in a fold­er to see the oth­er health work­ers who pro­vide lifestyle, diet and med­ica­tion advice.

When the clin­ics fin­ish, our staff join the oth­er health work­ers in case con­fer­ences ensur­ing patients receive the high­est lev­el of indi­vid­ual atten­tion and care.

The team won the 2020 NSW Health Pathol­o­gy Staff Award for Deliv­er­ing Tru­ly Con­nect­ed Care.

The ini­tia­tive is a past win­ner of the NSW Health Abo­rig­i­nal Health Awards for Excel­lence in Ser­vice Deliv­ery as a team.


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