What is the Australian Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard?

If it’s your first time having a colonoscopy, it’s always a good idea to develop an understanding of what to expect before, during and after your procedure. If you live in Australia, the best way to do this is through becoming familiar with the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard. This Standard is highly useful as it allows you to have more informed discussion with your healthcare professional. in this article, we touch on what the Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard involves and what it can mean for you and your procedure.

Initial assessment and your referral

The Colonoscopy Clinical Care Standard  in Australia was created to ensure that patients receive a consistently high quality colonoscopy every time. This is especially important due to the procedure having potential risk factors when high standards are not used in a medical environment. As with many other medical procedures, the first stage of the colonoscopy procedure involves a referral. The referral document for the colonoscopy provides information for a clinician to assess the appropriateness, risk and urgency of a colonoscopy-related consultation, and then the patient is allocated an appointment related to their unique circumstance. This is to better ensure that a patient is suited to a colonoscopy procedure – although many people may be referred, this in itself does not mean that the procedure will benefit them. The patient’s information – such as current and past medical conditions, age, family medical and cancer history, current medicines and previous test results – all factor into this decision. Then, the doctor who writes the referral will demonstrate to the patient what they need to do next, how soon they need to do it and what to do if they are not given an appointment within a certain timeframe.

Ensuring an appropriate and timely colonoscopy

In the event that a patient receives appropriate screening, surveillance, or the investigation of signs or symptoms of bowel disease and the results are found to be within national evidence-based guidelines, they will then be offered a timely colonoscopy. This is to ensure that those who require a colonoscopy immediately (as well as being able ty immediately benefit from the procedure) will be prioritised. This decision is therefore related to the patient’s ability to tolerate the bowel preparation and colonoscopy, and their likelihood of overall benefit – if both of these conditions are not met, then the patient will likely not receive a colonoscopy immediately. If this is the case, a clinician will then advise the patient and their referring clinician of alternate recommended management. In most cases, you will understand when a colonoscopy is relevant before you submit a relevant enquiry, as it is a procedure that is often recommended for people experiencing certain bowel problems, those needing to follow up on a previous bowel condition, because of found test results or due to a family history of bowel cancer.

Organising a colonoscopy is important

Colonoscopies are undoubtedly an important investment for your health, but it’s also important to keep in mind that you should only be offered a colonoscopy if the benefits outweigh the relevant risks. It’s not necessarily just the age of the patient that is taken into consideration, after all – there are also the risks associated with bowel preparation, sedation and the colonoscopy itself.

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