It happens more than 750 times every minute in American hospitals.
It’s the most common invasive medical procedure performed, helps physicians diagnose disease, determine treatment plans and make important decisions about patients of all ages. It’s also considered to be incredibly uncomfortable by a large number of patients.
It is the blood draw, and it commonly leads to laboratory testing anxiety.
Research shows that the blood draw is possibly the most common procedure performed in hospitals–and it is also one of the most dreaded. In fact, it unveiled the not-so-secret fact that many people dread the blood draw, with 10 percent of the population saying they are fearful of needles and nearly 40 percent of children requiring some sort of restraining in order to complete the procedure.
Yes, blood draws can include some scary stuff–especially for children, who seem to suffer from laboratory testing anxiety more often than adults.
With that in mind, here are some of the top ways to help patients of all ages address their concerns and avoid laboratory testing anxiety.
Top Ways to Avoid Laboratory Testing Anxiety
• For everyone, any time you are feeling even mildly anxious … make sure you understand exactly what will happen.
Knowledge is power. It can help you relax, calm your nerves and have a plan for dealing with whatever it is about the procedure that makes you uncomfortable–whether it’s the blood, pain or idea that blood is being removed from your body.
Prior to the procedure, makes sure you ask your doctor, nurse, lab technician or phlebotomist for detailed information what to expect. Once you know what to expect–and that most blood draws only take about three minutes–you will be able to come up with a game plan for dealing with whatever is causing your anxiety.
• For those who don’t like the pain … remember that the pain will likely only feel like a little pinch. And it typically won’t take too long.
Be honest with yourself (and your kids). Recognize that there will be a small amount of discomfort associated with the procedure. But remind yourself (and your children) that it won’t be serious pain and it will likely be over quickly.
One step you can take to minimize the pain is to moisturize the area from which the blood will be drawn.
• For those who have had bad experiences in the past … remember to drink plenty of water and make sure you are well-hydrated before the procedure.
Sometimes blood draws don’t go well because blood doesn’t flow or the phlebotomist can’t find a viable vein. Both often occur because of dehydration. If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, hydrate and hopefully it will go better this time.
• For those who are anxious, angry or feeling faint … start by having someone in the room with whom you can discuss happy topics. It will help take your mind off the procedure.
If you’re afraid you might faint (or if you have in the past), ask your phlebotomist to perform the procedure while you’re lying down. This will protect you from falling and might make you feel more comfortable during the blood draw.
Where to Go for More Information
If you or a loved one is still stressing out about an upcoming laboratory test or blood draw, you can always contact DMC Primary Care to talk to someone in one of their three outpatient laboratories.
They’re available to help ease your anxiety so your test can be successful.