• A quantitative assessment to obtain a blood glucose level (BGL) reading in order to identify hypo/hyperglycaemia.
Patient Factors & Considerations
  • Assess BGL for all patients with an altered conscious state (GCS <15).
  • Useful tool and forms part of baseline observations.
  • Should be considered for all patients who present as generally unwell e.g. signs of fever, infection etc.
  • BGL readings should not be interpreted in isolation but with consideration of other clinical signs and available history.

  • LO: Indicates a result of less than 1.1mmol/L, or there may be an issue with the test strip.
  • HI: Indicates a reading of higher than 27.8mmol/L.
  • E4: Indicates the reading is too high, there is an issue with the test strip, or insufficient blood amount is supplied. Re-test.
  • All relevant infection control methods and personal protective equipment to be utilised.
  • Prepare equipment required:
    • Glucometer
    • Cotton ball
    • Lancet
    • Test strip

  • Explain the procedure to the patient.
  • Check the test strip expiry date.
  • Use of an antiseptic swab prior to lancing is only indicated if the skin is visibly soiled. If antiseptic swab is used to clean the finger, allow to dry before testing.
  • Expose the test strip and insert the end with the three black lines into unit, leaving the blood sample port exposed; the unit will turn on automatically and display a drop, indicating it is ready to read a blood glucose level.
  • Open lancet, remove sharps cover and place against prepared site on finger; depress the firing mechanism by pressing the lever on the side.
  • Dispose of lancet in sharps container.
  • Apply gentle pressure, moving distally toward the lanced site; avoid excessive squeezing.
  • Apply blood droplet to test strip and allow unit to absorb the blood, a beeping sound will be heard.
  • The unit will commence a countdown, and then display a blood glucose reading in mmol/L.
  • Apply cotton ball or band-aid to puncture site.
  • Discard of test strip in sharps container.
BSL Unit

heelprickPreferred site for neonatal BGL lancing.

BSL Test Strip
  • Record reading and treat accordingly.
  • If administering treatment for hypoglycaemia, take readings after every administration of glucose to determine efficacy; treat accordingly.
Additional Information
  • In the unlikely situation that a neonatal patient requires a BGL reading, the outer surface of the heel is the preferred lancet site.
  • Blood Glucose Level Measurement. (2014). Expert in My Pocket. http://expertinmypocket.com.au/blood-glucose/ 


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