Positive patient identification
Confirming your identity before a blood test: positive patient identification keeps you safe.
For all blood tests it is very important that your identity is confirmed before someone takes the blood sample. Directly after the blood test is taken, the blood sample should be labelled, by the collector, with your correct details (including your full name and date of birth) and this must be done before the sample collector leaves you.
Inadvertently mixing up your blood sample with another person’s, or incorrectly labelling a pre-transfusion blood sample, can lead to the wrong blood product being given to you, which can have fatal consequences.
Before the blood sample for testing is taken it is very important that the person collecting the sample asks you to state and/or spell your full names and date of birth. This is to confirm that you are the right person to take the blood sample from and is the first step to ensuring your safety. If you are accompanying someone who is unable to confirm their identity, such as a child or someone who is incapacitated, then you should be asked to confirm their identity and be asked to provide their correct details. In a hospital setting your identity band will also be checked to ensure they have selected the right person.
Once your blood sample has been obtained the collector may repeat your details back to you as they write on the blood sample label and/or, hand you the labelled blood sample tube for you to check that your date of birth is correct and your names are spelt correctly. This is another way of checking the blood sample tube is labelled correctly and to ensure your safety.
If your blood sample has been labelled incorrectly another blood test will have to be taken. Most laboratories will not accept incorrectly labelled blood samples or samples where the labelling has been altered in any way for transfusion tests. This is to ensure your safety.
Have you been asked for your full name and date of birth? Remember this is to keep you safe before every blood test.