How choosing the right products for the individual patient experience can make all the difference

Last edited: | Safe Blood Collection - Back to overview

When responsible for the collection of a valuable blood sample, it is necessary to make decisions, sometimes very quickly and in critical situations. Patients are, after all, human beings, and with almost eight billion out there, every one of them unique, this can lead to several challenges over the course of a long shift in a healthcare facility.

The patient could be a young child accompanied by a concerned parent, an adult stressed about the upcoming blood collection procedure, or an elderly patient suffering from dementia who has little understanding of what is happening, just to name a few examples. With such a range of variations in patients, it is essential to make the right product choice that fits best for the patient, their vein conditions, as well as the situation.

An important initial step before preparing the patient, is the thorough evaluation of the vein conditions, to enable an appropriate selection of product for successful venepuncture and subsequent good blood flow for a quality blood sample.

One device that “fits all” for this initial step, is a vein visualization device such as the VeinViewer®. With this device, it is possible to carry out a thorough check of the veins up to 10mm below the skin, from the patency of the vein, to observing the refill and blood flow rate, to ensuring there are no valves or bifurcations. A beneficial side-effect of using a vein visualization device is furthermore the calming effect it may have on children or anxious patients, as the visualization of the vein patterns may distract and reassure, contributing to the success of the venepuncture procedure.

From feeling the vein, visually observing, and then if required confirming or checking with the vein visualization device, the information should be sufficient for the healthcare professional to make an informed choice about how to proceed, i.e., what needle gauge is appropriate, is a blood collection needle viable or should other options such as a winged safety blood collection set be considered?

If we go back to our examples of patients, starting with a young child, what is important here?

A young patient could be nervous and scared of what’s to come. This is a critical opportunity to look after a young patient, alleviating any fears and hopefully preventing a needle phobia case of the future.

Young children tend to have thinner, more fragile veins and if the needle diameter is too big, it could cause damage to the veins and may be painful. A child in pain is distressing to the parent or caregiver, which can quickly lead to an unnecessarily escalated situation.

In many cases, it may be sufficient to take a capillary sample, if just a small volume for clinical chemistry, haematology or glucose testing is required. Depending on the age and size of the patient as well as the conditions – for example, if a newborn or a toddler, overweight or underweight etc., a small incision or heel stick using a lancet is made or a finger puncture is carried out, then the sample is directed into the capillary blood collection tube via the integrated scoop.

The puncture is fast and does not need application of a tourniquet, meaning the procedure can be over much quicker, although it is important to choose the smallest possible blade or needle size for minimal pain and depending on the individual patient condition. The advantage of choosing this procedure, is that it is less intrusive, and a much lower blood volume is required.

At the other end of age scale, there are elderly patients, who may well have thin, papery skin, with a tendency to bruise, as well as fragile, rolling veins. The situation can then be exacerbated by any number of influencing factors, such as patients suffering from dementia, making the dialogue between healthcare worker and patient a potential challenge, since the patient may not understand what is happening.

Since it could be difficult enough on its own to remain calm and keep the patient compliant with the procedure, the products chosen should ensure that your actions are smooth and do not cause any alarm while at the same time ensuring safety for all concerned.

An advanced safety product such as the VACUETTE® EVOPROTECT SAFETY blood collection set combines super gentle technology with a semi-automatic safety feature, which means if sudden movements occur, the needle protection sleeve can be activated whilst the needle is still in the vein, helping to prevent needlestick injuries. By using a winged needle, a gentle puncture angle for veins closer to the surface can be easier to achieve and a high-quality needle supports a fast, insertion with minimal friction, increasing the chances of successful venepuncture in cases of thin, fragile veins that could roll.

In our final example of patient groups, we have adults, who may be fit and well both cognitively and physically but suffer from severe anxiety when it comes to blood collection. Patients suffering from needle phobia are not uncommon. It is estimated to affect more than 10% of the population and should not be taken lightly, as this may even lead to them avoiding medical care altogether (McCall, 2020).

It will neither be possible nor is it the aim to “cure” all patients of this phobia, but with the right product choice, a healthcare professional can make the experience as pleasant as possible. Let’s discuss the possible use of a vein visualization device like VeinViewer again, which as described above, can be important in many venepuncture or vascular access procedures, but in this particular situation can make the crucial difference.

As in all circumstances, a puncture that is as efficient and as pain-free as possible is the aim, so choosing the most appropriate product helps. Assessment with the VeinViewer can provide a talking point with the patient, providing distraction as well as enabling a thorough and professional evaluation of which vein to choose, and correspondingly, which product.

If veins are close to the surface, again, a winged needle such as a SAFETY blood collection set could be the best choice, whilst in other cases a safety product like the VACUETTE® QUICKSHIELD Safety Tube Holder can be sufficient, using the smallest gauge size possible depending on vein diameter assessment. After use, the needle can be easily, quickly, and safely enclosed in the protective shield either with the thumb or by pressing on a stable surface.

At Greiner Bio-One, safety is always priority for both patients and healthcare workers, as well as comfort and flexibility. The blood sample collection product line reflects this in the broad range of products that covers all needs in venepuncture and vascular access.

Safety and value, it’s in our blood

Protecting patients, clinicians and accuracy are topics to be covered in more detail here in the coming months. To ensure you don’t miss out, subscribe to the series here.

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This product information is addressed exclusively to healthcare professionals. Devices of Greiner Bio-One are to be used by properly trained healthcare professionals only in accordance with the relevant Instructions for Use (IFU). For a listing of indications, contraindications, precautions and warnings, please refer to the Instructions for Use which accompanies each product or is available for download from our website at (Download Center). For more information contact your local Greiner Bio-One sales representative or visit our website. 

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Testimonials appearing on this blog communicate their individual experiences regarding the use of our products and/or services. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the interview partner; they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Greiner Bio-One.

This information partly expresses opinions of our customers and/or experiences of individuals and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Greiner Bio-One.

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