Many people have anxiety about blood draws and needles. Anxiety can range from slight nervousness to phobia. Helping patients relax lessens physical and mental discomfort during this important medical process. Provide support with these tips for reducing patient anxiety during blood draws.
1. Communicate Before and During the Process
As with any patient interaction, it’s crucial to maintain clear communication with the patient. Before beginning, ask the patient what might help them feel more comfortable. If they share that they’ve had previous bad experiences, find out what bothered them and seek to give them a better experience this time.
For many people, explaining the process makes blood draws less intimidating. And in most cases, talking to the patient during the draw can provide an excellent distraction and make the moment pass by faster.
2. Make It Easier With Water and Warmth
The next tip for reducing patient anxiety during blood draws is to make the process easier with hydration and warmth. Water and warmth make the patient feel physically better and make it easier to find veins to draw from. Ultimately, taking the time to address these two needs can make the blood draw faster and more comfortable for the patient.
Counsel patients to drink plenty of water, if permitted, before they come to the clinic. If possible, patients should also avoid diuretic foods and supplements before the appointment.
3. Make the Patient More Comfortable
Finally, consider ways you can make the patient more comfortable during the blood draw. Creating a welcoming and comforting space can help. Since the phlebotomy chair supports the patient, one consideration when buying a blood drawing chair is how easily it can adjust to make sitting more comfortable.
Aside from a comfortable environment, you can also make the patient feel more at ease with deep breathing exercises during the blood draw. For some patients, taking in a deep breath and then releasing the breath slowly during the needle insertion helps.