Don’t delay regular liver health checks during COVID-19
12 May 2020
Hepatitis Victoria/LiverWELL® urges people with liver health conditions to continue seeing their regular care team and not skip appointments during the COVID-19 crisis.
“It is crucial for people with chronic health conditions to continue to look after their health at this time,” said Hepatology Nurse Practitioner Candidate, Phoebe Trinidad. “Failing to do so could have serious long-term consequences.”
Phoebe hopes the message of “staying home” doesn’t deter people from accessing healthcare or lead them to feel that their symptoms or health issues don’t need to be addressed promptly.
‘‘I have been continuing to encourage people to start on antiviral treatment for hep C and hep B, if safe to do so. So far, we have commenced 10 clients on antiviral treatment during the lock-down period,” she said.
“Importantly, two potential liver cancers have been also identified in the past two months. Had these people not attended an appointment and undertaken the recommended further testing, the tumours may not have been picked up in such a timely manner.”
She noted the expansion of the telehealth system that provides patients with the ability to phone or video conference a range of health practitioners, including GPs and Nurse Practitioners. Initial data shows that Australians have taken to this option with over 7.2 million telehealth consultations completed since the middle of March.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is also encouraging patients to continue to consult their GPs as they normally would, providing information about how to do so safely.
“If you haven't attended your regular health appointments, I would strongly encourage you to contact your primary health care practitioner to arrange an appointment. They’ll be able provide you advice and arrange a consultation safely, whether its face-to-face, by phone or video conference,” Phoebe said.