Safe blood collection: There is a better way to make any nervous patient feel comfortable
For medical staff, taking blood is a routine procedure. For many patients, however, the very thought of having their blood drawn can cause anxiety and nervousness. As healthcare professionals, it is important to recognise the different needs of patients and develop strategies to make blood collection as comfortable as possible.
This article provides an overview of the key considerations when dealing with a nervous patient, focusing on the importance of empathy, communication, and individualised care.
Creating a comfortable environment
The physical environment can have a significant impact on the patient's experience. Ensure that the blood collection area is clean, well lit, and organized. For example, ensure that biohazard containers are used correctly to prevent patients from seeing contaminated sharps. It may also be helpful to prepare the required materials before blood collection so that you can fully focus on the patient during the procedure. Adequate privacy is also important to help patients feel more comfortable.
For more information on how to prepare your working environmen read this article: 3 things to do to calm a patient when taking blood
Consider different patient types
Understanding that patients vary in age, experience, and temperament is crucial. A child may have different fears and anxieties compared to an adult or a senior. For paediatric patients, it's essential to use age-appropriate language, engage in play or distraction techniques, and involve parents or guardians in the process . With adults, effective communication becomes paramount, while seniors may benefit from additional support due to potential mobility issues or concerns related to medical conditions. To find out more about the correct approach for different types of patients, read [link to: CS7-02: Choosing the Right Blood Collection Approach for Children, Parents, and Seniors].
Fostering open communication
Initiating a conversation with the patient is key to understanding their fears and preferences. Simple questions such as, "Have you given blood before?" or "Do you have a preferred stick site or position for blood collection?" can provide valuable insights. Acknowledging their concerns and explaining the procedure in a clear and straightforward way can reduce anxiety. Always encourage patients to ask questions and express their concerns openly.
Safe blood collection goes beyond the technical aspects of the procedure; it involves creating a compassionate and patient-centred experience. By recognizing the different needs of patients and implementing strategies to address their anxieties, healthcare workers can play a key role in making the blood collection process more comfortable. Through a combination of empathy, communication, and personalized care, healthcare professionals can contribute to a positive healthcare experience for all patients, regardless of age or background.
 CLSI. Collection of Diagnostic Venous Blood Specimens. 7th ed. CLSI guideline GP41. Wayne, PA: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; 2017, p. 74-75.
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