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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.