Getting Important Blood Work Has Never Been Easier

Nancy Cicala, Robert Kenderes, Jane Marony, Annamaria Manna
From left to right: Nancy Cicala, phlebotomist; patient Robert Kenderes; Jane Marony, coordinator of the MUPS at Renaissance at Manchester, a 55+ community, and an MMCSC Foundation board member; and Annamaria Manna, lab assistant.

Once a week, Mobile Unit Phlebotomy Services (MUPS) comes to Renaissance at Manchester, an active 55+ community, to take blood or urine samples from residents. When MUPS arrives, resident Robert Kenderes goes to the community clubhouse to have his blood drawn. He has the blood cancer chronic lymphoid leukemia, so laboratory phlebotomist Nancy Cicala and laboratory assistant Annamaria Manna check his complete blood count and send the results to his physician. Robert’s form of leukemia, the most common type, results in abnormally high levels of white blood cells.

October 17, 2018 started out as an ordinary day for Robert. The traveling lab was visiting, and he had his blood work done at 10 a.m. Less than four hours later, he received an urgent call from Robert Arnold, MD, his physician, who had Robert rush to the hospital. It was discovered that Robert had a bleeding ulcer and by 2 p.m., he was given an emergency blood transfusion. Today, he’s alive and well and credits the MUPS team from Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC) with saving his life.

A Convenient Service

MUPS, which is run by MMCSC, has been traveling around Ocean County for almost a decade. It’s a critical service for older or disabled adults who may find it difficult, if not impossible, to travel to a physician’s office or hospital for lab work. “It’s especially valuable for those who don’t drive, have mobility limitations or don’t have time to get to our outpatient laboratory at MMCSC for blood work,” says Christopher E. Ramierez, MHA, MLS (ASCP)CM, laboratory manager at MMCSC.

Of course, anyone can benefit from MUPS. Many young, healthy adults may not have the time to make a trip to a physician’s office or hospital to get their blood drawn for a routine physical or to monitor a chronic condition, such as high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. While MUPS has many advantages, it’s still possible to have blood drawn at MMCSC’s outpatient laboratory, which is located at the front of the hospital. The lab is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m

Traveling Lab Visits

Mobile Unit Phlebotomy Services (MUPS) accepts walkins, but it’s best to call ahead to avoid a wait. Here’s the schedule of MUPS visits to area residential communities:

  • The Fairways at Lake Ridge - 8 to 9 a.m., first Monday of each month
  • Lake Ridge - 8 to 10 a.m., second and fourth Monday of each month
  • River Pointe - 8 to 10 a.m., third Monday of each month
  • Leisure Village West - 7:30 to 11 a.m., every Tuesday
  • Leisure Village East - 8 to 10 a.m., second and fourth Thursday of each month
  • Renaissance at Manchester - 7:30 to 11 a.m., every Wednesday
  • Four Seasons - 8 to 10 a.m., first and third Thursday of each month
  • Greenbriar Woodlands - 7 to 10 a.m., first and third Friday of each month
  • Leisure Knoll - 8 to 10 a.m., second and fourth Friday of each month

The Best Preparation

Should you eat before your blood test or steer clear of food and drinks?

Here are tips for an efficient appointment:

  • Check with your healthcare provider to determine whether you should fast prior to your appointment. Certain blood tests—such as those that check cholesterol levels and blood sugar—require fasting. That means you can’t eat or drink any fluids for around eight to 12 hours prior to the test. If you’re fasting, bring a healthy snack to eat immediately after your lab tests. It’s usually okay to continue taking your prescription medications, but check with your healthcare provider first.
  • If you don’t need to fast, try to eat breakfast before your blood test to avoid lightheadedness and dizziness.
  • Drink plenty of water. This will speed up the blood draw, since water plumps up your veins and makes it easier for the phlebotomist to extract blood.
  • If you’re anxious about the blood test, don’t look while it’s being performed and try to distract yourself by thinking about an upcoming vacation or relaxing setting.
  • Bring your lab order from your provider or the one that’s on file and check with your insurance company to ensure the test is covered.

Pre-register for Mobile Unit Phlebotomy Services and select an appointment time and date by calling RWJBarnabas Health LINK at 888.724.7123.