What are some of the advantages of home health care testing?
- allows individuals to monitor a disease that has already been detected, e.g. monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients
- allows consumers to detect certain conditions in the privacy of their own homes
- allows consumers to get instant results, e.g. you’re the first to know you’re pregnant
- quick access to the kits and instant results avoid delays such as having to wait for appointments
- modern test kits are inexpensive and easy to use
What are some of the limitations of a home test kit?
- many of the tests include a lancet, a simple device to help you obtain a blood sample (typically, 1 or 2 drops from a finger tip). This is easy and comparatively painless (a quick ‘pin-prick’), but some people can be a little squeamish
- people may be embarrassed to disclose their test results, but a positive test must be followed up with your GP
- instructions with the test kits must be followed closely. Important factors can include cleanliness (e.g. sugar on hands can affect a diabetes test), what time of day you perform the test, how long the sample has to stay in contact with the diagnostic test, and a clear understanding of the test results
- don’t be put off by the thickness of some of the instruction leaflets – some kits are manufactured for international distribution and have their instructions in several languages. Look for the English section – instructions are concise, clear and usually only run to 1-2 pages
Can home test kits take the place of my GP?
Definitely not! Home testing is one more way we can help ourselves in the management of our healthcare. But a positive home test must be followed up with a visit to your GP. Even with a negative result, physical symptoms must always take priority over a test result – if you are feeling unwell and exhibiting symptoms, do make an appointment with your GP.
Where can I get more information on the test and the meaning of a positive result?
Your GP should be your first port of call. In addition, the Support Links section of this web site gives direct access to a wide variety of specialist organisations and support groups, offering medical expertise and guidance.