Children are some of the most difficult patients from whom to collect blood sample specimens. Ensuring safety and efficacy when performing blood draws on pediatric patients, while also accounting for their emotional and physical well-being is of utmost importance.
Venipuncture can result in pain and anxiety for the pediatric patient. Traumatic experiences early in life may cause long-lasting effects, including a decreased threshold of tolerance, a lessened capacity to cope with pain and anxiety, and heightened pain perception.1
Strategies to consider for reducing stress and anxiety for pediatric patients include:
When performing venipuncture, the phlebotomist must follow the procedures described in CLSI’s standard GP41—Collection of Diagnostic Venous Blood Specimens. GP41 provides a descriptive, stepwise process for diagnostic venous blood specimen. Special considerations for collections from vascular access devices, blood culture collection, and collections in isolation environments are included.
1 Walco GA. Needle pain in children: contextual factors. Pediatrics. 2008:122(Suppl 3):S125-S129.
2 Cohen LL. Behavioral approaches to anxiety and pain management for pediatric venous access. Pediatrics. 2008:122(Suppl 3):S134-S139.
3 Duff AJ. Incorporating psychological approaches into routine paediatric venepuncture. Arch Dis Child. 2003;88(10):931-937.
4 Bagnasco A, Pezzi E, Rosa F, Fornonil L, Sasso L. Distraction techniques in children during venipuncture: an Italian experience. J Prev Med Hyg. 2012;53(1):44-48.
5 Taylor C, Sellick K, Greenwood K. The influence of adult behaviors on child coping during venipuncture: a sequential analysis. Res Nurs Health. 2011;34(2):116-131.
6 Sparks LA, Setlik J, Luhman J. Parental holding and positioning to decrease IV distress in young children: a randomized controlled trial. J Pediatr Nurs. 2007;22(6):440-447.