In this modern era it is the norm to go outside the home to a facility set-up to draw blood. When doctors order blood tests they often provide the name of the hospital or lab that will be covered by a patient's medical insurance. It is not uncommon for such places to be crowded in the early morning hours, since most patients have been told that a fasting blood test is required. Nothing can be eaten starting from midnight until after the blood draw is concluded.
The Phlebotomists Who Make Home Visits
What happens if a patient is unable to make the trip to the lab to have the needed blood tests? How can the blood work be provided? Enter the traveling phlebotomist.
These individuals work tirelessly often during the wee hours of of the morning to call at the homes of those unable to get to the brick and mortar labs for blood draws.
Their territories can be vast and cover great distances, which can be challenging when fasting blood draws are necessary.
Obtaining Approval for Home Visits
It is customary for physicians to send their patients to laboratories which quickly and efficiently take blood and test it according to the doctor's request.
When a patient cannot comply with the request to have blood drawn, either the test will not be completed, or the doctor will take the time to request a phlebotomist. Approval from the patient's insurance company is a must before a home visit to draw the necessary blood can take place.
Many doctor's may not show an interest in going above and beyond normal procedures. Those who do are normally dedicated individuals who are sincerely interested in their patient's welfare and in knowing the results and health of those in their care.
Medications may need to be added, removed, or replaced, depending on the outcome of blood tests. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac problems, are just a few of the problems that need constant monitoring in an effort to avoid complications untreated conditions can bring. Kidney failure and the need for dialysis is another very serious ailment that needs continuous monitoring and testing.
When a doctor requests a phlebotomist visit a patient, the insurance carrier must approve the request. Questions dealing with the health and strength of the insured client must be ascertained. Is the patient bed-bound, or home-bound? Is the insurer able to tend to normal household functions and upkeep? Can the patient provide for meals or does someone else do the meal preparations? How often does the insurer leave the home?
Once the energy level of the insurer is determined and standards are met, the approval is given to the doctor to arrange for a home visit for a blood draw.
Appointments and Blood Draw Procedures
A facility licensed to carry out medical requests for testing will be contacted by the physician's office and the patient information is then shared. The phlebotomist contacts the patient directly, identifying oneself and suggesting a time for the test to take place. Once a day and time is agreed upon, the phlebotomist's next contact is by phone on the actual day of the test when they are just a short distance away. Punctuality is important given the time restraints hoisted upon the phlebotomist due to their busy schedules.
Upon entering the home, the insurance identification card is checked and the blood draw begins. It is a quick process and usually with a minimum amount of pain, as they are skilled and proficient at identifying good health veins in which to draw the blood.
If a stool or urine sample is needed, they will collect those as well and place them in the proper receptacle.
Some closing paperwork is filled out while in the home and then the phlebotomist is off to the next appointment.
As is the case with blood work drawn in labs, the results of the home tests reaches the doctor promptly. Occasionally, there may be a miscommunication about the testing that should be performed. For example, the result of a cholesterol panel may have been provided but other testing for a fasting blood sugar level may have been overlooked. It is up to the physician to decide whether to send the phlebotomist out again or wait until the next time the blood needs to be drawn.
Sometimes a patient may be able to negate the error and travel to a lab for a blood draw that does not require fasting, giving the doctor the result requested without putting undue hardship on the patient.
The results of any testing is discussed by phone or if a patient has a portal that syncs to the doctor's files, the information can be examined closely by the patient and any concerns can be addressed with the doctor.
If a doctor does not make the option of a home visit known, the patient should ask if a home visit can be arranged. Not everyone will qualify but for those who meet the criteria, such a home visit is helpful and appreciated.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.