Your Partner During Genetic Testing
Genetic counselors are trained health professionals that are here to guide and support you before, during and after genetic testing. They are often specialized in certain areas of medicine – such as cardiomyopathy and other cardiovascular diseases – and can meet with you to assess how inherited conditions may impact you and your family.
Most people will meet with a genetic counselor face-to-face for one or two visits, possibly more often depending on your needs and situation.
You can meet with the genetic counselor alone, with your spouse, a family member or a friend. Not only are you welcome to bring someone with you, it is encouraged. It’s always helpful to have someone else who can listen, take notes and ask questions you might not think of.
The length and content of a genetic counseling appointment varies between different clinics and specialties, and depends on the reason for the appointment.
What Can You Expect from A Genetic Counselor
- Take a full comprehensive family history, asking targeted questions about you and your family member’s medical history.
- Discuss the reason for the visit and why you were referred.
- Help you determine if testing is right for you or your family based on your needs and values.
- Guide you through the decision making process.
- Work with laboratories to ensure the correct testing is being performed.
- Discuss prevention, disease management and possible next steps if test results are positive.
- Provide emotional support during what can be a challenging and confusing time.
- Offer resources and advocacy for more information if desired.
- Take your results and other medical information and work with your cardiologist or physician to develop a personalized care plan for you (and in some cases your family members).
- Provide emotional support and resources.