Before venesection

Venesection should only take place when a clear written request is made by a relevant health care professional. This should include the patient’s diagnosis, frequency of venesection, volume to be removed, replacement fluid prescription (where relevant) and the target blood results (serum ferritin, haematocrit, transferrin saturation and haemoglobin). The request should include any factors which may affect the procedure such as current use of anti-hypertensives, history of heart disease or a previous history of fainting.

Gaining Informed Consent

Patients should give written consent to the venesection procedure on the first occasion, following a clear explanation of the procedure and its purpose and potential complications. Subsequently consent may be verbal and recorded by the nurse in their notes. Patients should be advised to eat normally, keep well hydrated and keep warm prior to the procedure, which may help blood flow and reduce the risk of fainting.

Learning points

  • All patients undergoing their first venesection should sign a written consent form to notify them of the potential risks of the procedure. Thereafter, verbal consent is acceptable but should be documented each time on each visit.
  • Patients should be advised to keep well hydrated, eat well a few hours prior to the procedure and keep warm (for vasodilation purposes).

Next steps

Breakout activity 2