I assess patients in their homes, many of them diabetics, so I have the luxury of more time than most clinicians in clinic or office practices. Often I will ask diabetic patients to demonstrate the technique they use to obtain a blood sample (without actually pricking the finger), particularly if the patient has not been checking it regularly.

I have found that many patients have devolved over time into using poor technique, pricking the sensitive pads of their fingers and using the deepest lancet setting on their device.

I review technique with them, demonstrating where to stick the finger and demonstrating how to rotate the fingers and hands. I also show them how to adjust the depth of the lancet, press firmly with the lancet device and “milk” the finger to get a drop of blood if it does not immediately appear.

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Many patients do not realize that modern glucose meters require only very small amounts of blood. Advising them to move away from the most sensitive part of the finger and press firmly with the lancet device can help them achieve painless blood glucose monitoring. — Susan Anthony, FNP, Lubbock, Texas

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