Mentally and Physically Disabled Patients

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Special Topics in Phlebotomy. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Mentally and Physically Disabled Patients

The phlebotomist may encounter a patient with special needs due to physical and/or mental limitations. In these situations, the phlebotomist should assess the needs of the patient and employ others to assist if necessary.
For patients that do not understand you when you try to explain the procedure, the patient's caregiver can be asked to assist by helping explain the procedure to the patient in terms that the patient will understand. The patient's caregiver is someone who the patient trusts and someone who knows how the patient will react. The phlebotomist should be as non-threatening as possible when communicating with special needs patients.
For a patient with physical disabilities, the phlebotomist should try to modify the environment to accommodate the patient's needs. This may include lowering or heightening the drawing chair to accommodate patient height and/or size. If the drawing room environment does not sufficiently accommodate the patient's needs, the phlebotomist should seek out a more appropriate location within the facility, if available.