Needle phobia: How to improve the child’s experience during blood drawing

Pediatric diseases, pain and hospitalization have an important impact on children and their families. This is especially significant when considering common invasive procedures, such as blood drawing. The objectives of the study were to assess the experience of children and families during the blood drawing procedure and suggest methods for improvement. The study was conducted in a children’s hospital in Barcelona, Spain, between 2018 and 2020. A mix-method design or combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies was developed. We carried out a search of the literature, a design thinking approach, and a survey. Results from the qualitative approach identified areas for improvement, such as, the lack of information about the process of blood collection before testing, management of fear or pain, and characteristics of the physical space, among others. Regarding the quantitative approach, 277 persons (patients and families) were interviewed. And, although there were high levels of satisfaction among them about the blood drawing procedure, they also stressed the importance of the information received prior the test, the distraction techniques, and the physical space. From these results, we made different actions like information leaflets and fact sheets, distraction elements in the waiting room (wall vinyl, therapeutic dogs and clowns), and modification of the cabins. Although these results cannot be generalized to the population, they serve as an example of how to improve patient and family experience and include them in the decision-making process. In the current pandemic, further research should be done to adapt these results to the “new normal.”