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Lightening the stress of lab draws for little ones

Last Modified: 5/22/2018

Today is a celebration of childhood. It’s National Kids Day! As we reaffirm our dedication to and hope for the country’s youth, we also want to use the holiday as an opportunity to highlight one of the unique pediatric services we offer through the Parkview Children’s Specialty Clinic.

While often necessary for an accurate diagnosis, lab draws may be a frightening and unpleasant experience for little ones. But seasoned phlebotomist, Shelli Hapner, lab assistant, prides herself on providing a quick, positive experience for both the child and the parents. We sat down with her to learn more.

What inspired the pediatric-focused draw site?
The physicians were passionate about having an outpatient lab site focused on children 14 and younger.

What are some of the benefits of choosing this draw site for your child?
We really focus on the patient experience. The environment is bright and friendly and our team is amazing. There’s never much of a wait and you don’t need an appointment. We try to make it as convenient as possible.

Are there any particular strategies you employ to ease the child’s experience?
It really depends on the age, and we develop a unique plan for each individual patient, but we do have some go-to strategies. I tell them before we even go back that they will get a snack or a prize when we’re done. We have television and we blow bubbles – sometimes that’s enough of a distraction. For older children, as long as they aren’t experiencing any sensory issues, we will use Buzzy®, which is a tool we place, as we say, “between the brain and the pain” to minimize the child’s awareness of the needle prick. We also get a lot of goodies from the great folks at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Indiana at Parkview

What would you recommend for the parent of a child with extreme anxiety over lab draws?
You know, in my experience, honesty is really the best policy. At the end of the day, you know your child better than I do and you know what’s best, but I find that generally the truth produces the desired result. I’m very honest, but also calm and confident. I think the way you deliver the message can either heighten the mood or ease everyone’s concerns.  If I’m certain of our next steps, that helps the parent move forward as well. My goal is to get them in and out of the room as fast as possible. And it’s important to remember that the recovery is so fast and they’ll forget about it quickly.

Why do you love working with children?
Because kids are fun! People always ask me why I would want to stick a moving target every day, but I do, I love it. We’ve had some awesome experiences with amazing patients. Some of these kids I’ve been seeing for 2 or more years and you definitely form a special rapport.

What do parents need to have the blood work done at the Parkview Children’s Specialty Clinic Draw Site?
Just a lab order and Parkview-accepted insurance. No need to make an appointment. I would say, if you have questions about the tests, don’t hesitate to call me and I will be happy to talk through that with you.  We strive to make the entire process as painless as possible.

Parkview Children’s Specialty Clinic Draw Site
11115 Parkview Plaza Drive, Entrance 2A
Fort Wayne, IN 46845
(Look for the bright blue door.)
(260) 266-5400

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Buzzy® is a registered trademark of MMJ Labs, LLC.

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