House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Karen Chapman, a certified phlebotomy technician at Sutter Coast Hospital.
Before any blood draw your doctor might have ordered for your child, please explain to him or her in simple terms what is going to happen.
Children have a right to know what to expect, even if they are not going to like it. Explain why the doctor wants their blood drawn, “to see if you are sick,” etc.
It can be very frightening for children. If you stay calm and matter of fact, the child is usually calmer.
Some don’ts are, don’t tell children if they are not good, we will stick them twice. Threats make everything so much worse. We might miss and have to try twice!
Don’t tell them they are getting a shot. Tell children we will put a tight band around their arm, like a rubber band, and we will poke them with a tiny needle. It will feel like a pinch.
Be prepared to hold them tight. If you can’t hold, we can have someone hold or wrap them in a sheet. Being held down is scary and that is usually the reason for the tears, and you may shed a few of your own!
Seeing it done sometimes lessens their fear. We do everything in our power to make your child feel comfortable.
Having your blood drawn should not be a life-long fear and we want your child to come away with a good experience. Please be part of the team for positive health care for your child.
As for parent preparation for your child’s outpatient blood draw, if you have the doctor’s order, please stop at the very first desk inside the hospital door and tell them you are here for outpatient blood draw. Admissions staff will ask you some questions and update our computer system with your child’s and your information.
You will then be asked to go to the lab. At the lab, the clerk will take your order and enter the test codes into the laboratory computer. If the orders are routine, this is a fairly simple process. Some orders may take longer to look up accurate codes so that the correct testing gets completed. Once the tests are ordered in the computer, you will be asked to come into the lab for the lab draw.
If you do not have your lab order, please go to the lab window and ask for your order. Once you have the order in your hand, you will be asked to go to admissions and start the above process.
Laboratory staff members at Sutter Coast Hospital who will draw your child’s blood have been through a training course for phlebotomy and have been certified by the State of California.