Positive patient identification

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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) before this person leaves your side.

Inadvertently mixing up your blood sample with another person’s, or incorrectly labelling a pre-transfusion blood sample, has led to the wrong blood product being given, 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. It is the first step to protecting 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 the right person.

Once your blood sample has been obtained the collector may repeat your details 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 ensuring the blood sample tube is labelled correctly and to protect your safety.

If your blood sample has been labelled incorrectly another blood test will have to be taken. Most laboratories will not accept blood samples for transfusion tests that are not correctly labelled or have been altered in any way. This is to protect 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.