Childrens blood test appointments
Your child’s blood test
A Paediatric Phlebotomy service is available at Darent Valley Hospital for children aged 11 years and under, by appointment only, Monday-Friday.
Children aged 12 years and over can attend adult phlebotomy at Darent Valley Hospital or a walk-in service at Gravesham Community Hospital. If your child has significant anxiety or additional needs, you can make an appointment directly with the Children’s Resource Centre at DVH.
To book your child’s blood test (12 and under) you can go onto the Darent Valley Hospital website and type in blood test. There is a child blood test request form which you need to complete and submit. Once your form is submitted, please allow 3 working days for a response. You will receive either an email or telephone call.
Please note it must be the child’s details that are entered when booking online, not the parent/carer that is accompanying them.
If you are not able to book online, you can call the Children’s Resource Centre on 01322 428232 and a member of the team will aim to book it for you.
Please note that if the blood test has been requested by your GP you must remember to bring the blood test form with you as it CANNOT be done without the form and you will be asked to rebook.
Meet the Team:
The Children’s Blood Test Team at DVH is made up of a range of very experienced clinicians including Phlebotomists, Nurses, and Health Care Assistants. We aim to take care of both you and your child. Please do ask if you have any questions or concerns prior to your child’s blood test.
What happens when my child has their blood test?
Please encourage your child to drink lots of water at least 2 hours before the appointment. This really makes such a difference when trying to obtain the blood sample.
Your phlebotomist or another member of the team will invite you and your child into the treatment room. Your child will be asked to sit on the couch next to you or on your lap. We will advise you of the best way to position your child. We will often use books to distract your child and keep them as calm as possible.
The phlebotomist or nurse will examine your child’s arms and hands to find a suitable vein from which to take blood. Occasionally we may have to use another site, such as feet.
To ensure the blood test is a painless as possible we recommend using a ‘numbing cream’ for children over 1 year. This is prescribed by your GP or purchased over the counter from a chemist. Magic numbing cream is very effective and will completely numb the area for the blood test.
Full instructions can be found in the box with the cream. 1 hour before your blood test appointment apply a small amount of magic cream to inside the creases of both elbows and the outside of both hands. You need to cover the cream either with the dressings supplied or you can use cling film.
Clingfilm is often preferable as it tends to stick and be easier and less uncomfortable to remove than the dressings.
Once your child is positioned, a member of the team may help to keep the arm still by gently supporting it
They will apply a tourniquet (tight band) around their arm and apply the cold spray if being used.
The needle is then put into the vein and remains in place until the blood samples have been collected. Once finished, cotton wool will be used to stop the bleeding and a plaster applied.
The plaster can be removed a few hours later at home. Occasionally bruising can appear at the site, but this should disappear within 3-5 days.
While we try to do our best to get all the samples first time, it may sometimes be necessary to have more than one attempt
What should I tell my child?
One of the most basic things you can do is talk to your child about the appointment and let them know what is going to happen. Give a short explanation that is appropriate for their age and development. You can tell your child that it will hurt a little bit, but be over very quickly and then the hurt goes away. We generally avoid using words like needle, blood or sharp scratch as this can frighten a child and worry them. We also use simple distraction techniques as this can really help. Please remember a calm parent really encourages a calm child and you remaining calm can make such a difference.
When will I get the results?
The results of your child’s blood test will be sent directly to the consultant or GP that requested them, if local. If the GP is out of area, it is the responsibility of the requesting GP to chase them. Please do not contact the Children’s Resource Centre for results. If the blood test is for allergies, these results can take up to 3 weeks. If you have any further questions, you can contact The Children’s Resource Centre on 01322 428232.
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