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Guide to point of care tests aims to help clinicians reduce anxiety for patients with learning disabilities

POCT may help reduce psychological stress of having blood tests
Young male patient consults nurse

POCT may help reduce psychological stress of having blood tests

A guide to point of care testing (POCT) aims to help clinicians reassure people with learning disabilities who are anxious about having blood or urine tests.

University of Sunderland researchers found people with learning disabilities may experience less stress about samples being taken from them if POCT is used.

The guide, published by the university, explains:

  • The training nurses and other staff may need.
  • Which POCT devices are available.
  • How to explain the process to patients and carers.

The researchers produced the guide after discovering a ‘general lack of awareness of POCT’ among specialist learning disability nurses, GPs, and clinical commissioning groups.

POCT may help reduce psychological stress of having blood tests


Picture: Alamy

A guide to point of care testing (POCT) aims to help clinicians reassure people with learning disabilities who are anxious about having blood or urine tests.

University of Sunderland researchers found people with learning disabilities may experience less stress about samples being taken from them if POCT is used.

The guide, published by the university, explains:

  • The training nurses and other staff may need.
  • Which POCT devices are available.
  • How to explain the process to patients and carers.

The researchers produced the guide after discovering a ‘general lack of awareness of POCT’ among specialist learning disability nurses, GPs, and clinical commissioning groups.

Positive reactions

The team held pop-up clinics in Sunderland, which were attended by 20 adults with a learning disability.

Organiser and specialist learning disability nurse Ashley Murphy noted individuals at the clinics ‘had the capacity to engage with staff and were really positive and excited about it'.

‘More work is needed, but a positive start has been made to shine a light on this important area.’

Lead researcher Karen Giles added: ‘One lady in her 40s had never ever had her bloods tested before as she “hates blood tests”. She allowed us to do the finger prick test and was first in the queue at the pop-up clinic.

'This highlights that, when done correctly, POCT offers the right care in the right place at the right time.’

Ms Giles said studies are needed into barriers to POCT, including cost of implementation.


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