Experience with phlebotomy for people with hepatitis C: a systematic review
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<jats:p> Low uptake of treatment remains a considerable challenge in the management of patients with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and difficulties with phlebotomy contribute to this significantly. This systematic review aimed to locate and synthesise evidence regarding: (i) the impact of phlebotomy experience on access to treatment for HCV and (ii) interventions made to improve the experience of phlebotomy for people with HCV. Abstracts were reviewed for 100 articles, a full-text review was undertaken of 16 and four were subjected to quality appraisal. Analysis of the studies revealed three main issues: (i) how access to phlebotomy was characterised by perceptions of stigma and fear of blood sampling, (ii) the impact of poor phlebotomy experience on treatment access and (iii) lack of communication between service users and service providers. Only one study reported the impact of an intervention to improve phlebotomy experience. Recent treatment developments have the potential to make a significant impact on mortality and morbidity for those living with HCV. However, to introduce appropriate interventions, it is essential to engage service users. </jats:p>
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