Genetic counselling is a person-centred process to help individuals, couples and families understand and also provide related to their genetics; the risk of an inherited genetic condition, addressing concerns if a child is showing signs of a genetic disorder, managing their health and wellness based on their genetic make-up, the likelihood to be affected by a condition due to their family history or any other genetics and health-related concerns. This will help them make their own well-informed health decisions that are best suited for them and their families.
Genetic counsellors are allied health care professionals who has education and training in the field of medical genetics and counselling. They help patients and other healthcare providers with cases related to genetic diseases and alsogenetic testing options. They also advise patients on the social and ethical aspects associated with a genetic disorder or a genetic test’s results. They can also help patients and their families cope with the diagnosis of a genetic disease, and help healthy individuals who are interested in understanding their genetics or make the necessary lifestyle changes in case they have genetic predisposition to a certain condition.
No, you do not need a referral to make an appointment. However, it will be ideal to provide all relevant medical records prior to your consultation.
There are many genetic tests available and different options to pick from and that can be confusing. A genetic counsellor can help you explore your options, and also if whether getting tested is right for you. He/She can also explain what the test can or cannot tell you and this will prepare you for the results which may affect you and other members of your family. In some cases, patients choose to decline genetic testing after meeting with a genetic counsellor, but still benefit from receiving personalized information about the level of risk based on their family history and other factors.
Nobody can tell you if you will be getting a disease or guarantee that you won’t. Many things can influence your risk for a disease and your genes can only tell part of the story, but a genetic counsellor can help you understand your chances of developing a disease or a condition. Regardless of your risk level, a genetic counsellor can work with you and your doctor to develop a plan that includes both screening and prevention options.
A genetic counsellor can provide personalized information and guidance and will lso offer emotional support throughout the decision-making process but will not tell you what decision to make, or confirm if a certain decision is the right one.. Rather, a genetic counsellor will help you understand complex genetic information in a very simplified and easy manner, provide useful insights and perspectives and support you as you make an informed decision about what makes sense for you and your family.
After the first session, the genetic counsellor can discuss with you if there is a need for a follow-up session or not. This will usually depend on the need for more of your family’s medical history, whether you or a family member decides to have genetic testing and/or the complexity of the situation.
You are welcome to invite members of your family or a friend to your appointment, however you will be the main focus of the consultation. If a friend or a family member has specific questions or concerns, which are not related to your case, it will be necessary to schedule a separate appointment for them.