Phlebotomy Patient Safety During COVID-19

During this unprecedented time, hospital triages and urgent care centers are experiencing extraordinarily high volumes of patients. With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing traditional healthcare to a standstill, patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic has become a hot topic among hospital staff and medical providers.

In this article we will examine some measures currently being taken to help keep patients (and healthcare providers) safe during COVID-19.

*This article is not an obligatory guideline. Local regulations should always be observed.

Measures

Indication

1. Ask physicians to critically judge the necessity and frequency of laboratory testing

2. Routine checks or protocols could be adjusted

3. Triage to split up patient stream: COVID-19 patients, non-COVID-19 patients and patients with symptoms possibly related to COVID-19

Requests

1. Digital requests are preferred, to reduce physical contact with potentially contaminated paper request forms

2. Hospital information systems

3. Primary care order entry systems

4. Application of Point-of-care testing

Crowd control

1. Patients are requested to visit the phlebotomy service unattended if possible

2. Spread outpatient phlebotomy services in space and time

3. Increase opening hours; opening during evening and weekend

4. Inform patients about peak and off times of outpatient phlebotomy services

5. Blood sampling by appointment; special locations or opening hours for patients with (possible) SARS CoV-2 infection

6. Necessity for fasting blood sampling (lipids, glucose)

7. Avoid any priority procedures for specific patient groups in order to optimize the flow of patients

8. Blood sampling on parking lots, so that patients can wait in their car

Social distancing

1. One-way routing in phlebotomy services

2. Refer the patient directly to the blood collection room (working without a counter, registering the application and performing the blood collection by the same person at the same place)

3. Reception and waiting rooms:

  • Minimize the number of chairs and tables. Clearly mark fixed seats as out of use in case a minimum distance of 1.5 m cannot be met
  • Place chairs at a minimum distance of 1.5 m
  • Maximum number of patients allowed in facility
  • Grid on the floor (with instruction that only one person is allowed per square)

4. Provide counters with screens if necessary

5. Physical barriers, such as plexiglass, can also help in situations where a 1.5 m distance is not possible

Hygiene

1. Disinfectant dispenser for patients and attendants at the entrance and exit of the blood collection site

2. Instruction for applying hand hygiene

3. Instruction for averting face during blood draw

4. Seats and tables are easy to clean (no fabric furniture)

5. Clean regularly all contact points in central areas and waiting areas (e. g. chairs, tables, counters)

6. No newspapers or magazines offered or allowed in waiting areas

7. No food or drink offered or allowed in waiting areas

8. Washable keyboards

9. Blood collection booths equipped with screens

10. Use disposable thrust belts and disposable blood collection sleeves

11. Personal protective equipment for employees (mouth-nose mask, splash goggles, gloves, apron)

12. Possibly also a mouth-nose mask for the patient/attendant after triage

Communication

Communicate to both physicians and patients about the limited capacity of phlebotomy services due to safety measures related to the COVID-19 situation

Careers in Phlebotomy

At Phlebotomy Career Training patient safety in all areas of medical health is crucial, especially in phlebotomy and blood testing. Implementing the safest practices and taking precautions as top priority is the first step to excellent patient care and lays the groundwork for a safe work environment.

Phlebotomy Career Training is the Nation’s leader in Medical Health Careers producing students that are well prepared and ready to work in the field of their choice. Our programs offered include Phlebotomy Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Electrocardiogram Technician, Dialysis Technician, Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Medical Coding and Billing and more!

The largest health care providers specifically seek PCT students for their team due to our training and program education with a 99% course completion rate. Our classes are small, allowing instructors to spend quality time with each and every student and our programs are accredited through National Organizations, led by experienced educators, offered both in class and online. If you are interested in a career in medical health, Phlebotomy Career Training has the program for you. Call and speak with a Program Specialist today!

For more information on a career in phlebotomy, certifications, employment and more click here.