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Venous access: From the patient’s point of view

Introducing a needle into the vein is the most commonly performed invasive medical procedure (Which is also known as cannulation or phlebotomy). Many patients will require this to allow medical practitioners for venous access for transmission of fluids, which may be more frequently performed on regular patients such as cancer sufferers.

To highlight the prevalence of cannulations in medical practice, over 70% of patients in hospital will require a cannula. 30 million cannulations are performed in the NHS UK per year where up to 30% of these procedures fail first time. This can be very traumatic and painful for the patient as the level of stress and anxiety increases which then has a negative cumulative effect on procedure for the practitioner, such as increased nerves when attempting venous access.

From the experience of Lisa Johnson who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, she describes the difficulty she had with one of her cannulation procedures before a chemotherapy session:

“When I was in hospital a year ago, it proved really difficult to cannulate me, and all in all had 11 attempts…which was quite traumatic.”

She further stated;

“You tend to start feeling pain a bit more…I know myself it can cause so much added trauma to an already traumatic experience.”

View the full video below to learn more about Lisa’s experience:

The procedure can be even more traumatic for children, who have smaller veins in comparison to an adult and are more sensitive to pain and difficult situations. It is inevitable that the failure rate for cannulating a child first time is higher than the adults rate (50% of practitioners fail first time).

The overall procedure of venous access can be sigificantly more daunting, traumatising and distressing for a young child. This issue has been addressed in the 'Journal of emergency nursing', who found that the success rate for 1st attempt cannulations within children was only 53%, furthermore, 67% for 2nd attempts, 91% for 4th attempts and only 33% for first time attempts in children.

Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh, an educational professor and father, gives details about his son’s experience in hospital below:

“He (Amin’s son) needed cannulation on a daily basis for fluid intake or to take blood samples and he suffered significantly because the process failed many times. He was in tears on a daily basis, asking the medical staff please don’t fail, please don’t fail please don’t fail. They failed, and they failed again, and again.”

View the full video below to learn more about Amin’s experience:

We are now looking to raise funds to produce the Vacuderm for kids. To become a supporter and help us reduce child trauma for medical procedures, please donate by visiting:

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