Home Collection Instructions
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Home Collection Instructions

Welcome to the Northern Health Lab Services Website. We've chosen to recommend a lab test resource that we believe will provide you with good information, and help you become informed and confident about your test. Our choice for the best information for you is Lab Tests Online.

Another useful medical tool is the BC Health Guide.

See the categories to the right for instructions for the accurate home collection of your specimen for the Lab.

Go to our Fasting Tests below to see which tests are included, and which food/drinks you must avoid.

More Information

Pinworm Collection

You will be provided with a specimen collection container specifically for pinworm collection.

Instructions must be followed carefully.

  • Take a sample in the morning upon waking up, prior to bathing or having a bowel movement.
  • Sample is collected using the paddle attached to the inside of the lid of the collection kit provided.  One side of the paddle is inscribed with the word "sticky side".
  • Remove lid from collection kit, do not disconnect paddle from the lid, and touch the sticky side of the paddle to the folds of skin around the anus.
  • Return the lid and paddle assembly to the container it came in and tightly secure the lid on collection container.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • The container must be labeled - label collection container with the patient's name, date and time of collection.

Bring specimens back to Laboratory as soon as you have completed the last one.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Pinworm Collection

Putting on a Newborn/Pediatric U-Bag

*Skin must be perfectly dry -- avoid oils, powders and lotions that may leave a residue on the skin and interfere with the adhesive's ability to stick.

FOR GIRLS:

  • With the child on her back, spread legs and wash each skinfold in the genital area. A gentle bath soap is best. Do not use a scrub soap solution: it may leave a residue that interferes with adhesion. Wash anus last. Rinse and dry.
  • Remove protective paper from the bottom half of the adhesive patch. Most persons find it easier to keep the top half of the adhesive covered with paper until the bottom part has been applied to the skin. Be sure skin is dry before applying collector.
  • Stretch perineum to separate skin folds and expose the vagina. When applying adhesive to the skin, be sure to start at the narrow bridge of skin separating vagina from anus. Work outward from this point.
  • Press adhesive firmly against the skin and avoid wrinkles. When bottom part is in place, remove paper from upper portion of adhesive. Work upward to complete application, pressing adhesive all around vagina.

FOR BOYS:

  • Wash entire area between legs. A gentle bath soap is best. Do not use a scrub soap solution: it may leave a residue that interferes with adhesion. Wash scrotum first, then penis; anus last. Rinse and pat dry, allowing a few moments for moist parts to dry.
  • Remove protective paper from bottom section first, exposing adhesive. Most persons find it easier to keep the top half of the adhesive patch covered until the bottom half has been applied to the skin. But with an active boy, you may want to leave the paper in place until you have placed the collector over the genitals.
  • When pressing adhesive to the skin, be sure to start at the narrow bridge of skin between the anus and the base of the scrotum. Work outward from this point. Be sure skin is dry before applying collector.
  • Continue to press adhesive against skin, avoiding wrinkles. When bottom part is in place, remove paper from upper part of adhesive patch. Work upward to complete application.

If you have any questions, please contact the Laboratory.

For the results of your test, contact your doctor.

Rev. May 2006

Fasting Tests

Children:

According to the BC Children's Hospital manual:

  • Fasting for infants 0-1 year old is on a feed-to-feed basis
  • Fasting for children 1-16 years old is 8 hours

Please consult your physician regarding child fasting. This information does not take the place of instructions received from your physician.

Adults (16+):

General fasting for adults is usually between 8 and 12 hours prior to sample collection -- please follow your physician's instructions.

Prohibited:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Clear fluids other than water
  • Gum/candy (including sugarless)
  • All foods
  • Smoking/Chewing Tobacco

Allowed:

  • Sucking on ice chips is recommended to maintain hydration
  • Sips of water are allowed
  • Pills/insulin are allowed -- please consult your physician for additional information

Please speak with your physician if you are unsure about your own fasting.

Fasting Tests:

  • Cholesterol
  • D-Xylose Tolerance
  • Glucose Fasting
  • Glucose Gestational - Confirmation (Gestational Glucose Screen is not fasting)
  • Glucose (2-Hour)
  • Glucose (5-Hour)
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Iron
  • Lactose Tolerance
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • TIBC (Total Iron-Binding Capacity)
  • Triglyceride

Stool Collections

You will be provided with a collection container.

CAUTION:
The collection container may contain a preservative in the form of a liquid solution. Do not remove this solution from the container. Keep the container in an Upright Position so it does not leak or spill. If contact occurs, flush area immediately with running water. Seek medical attention if ingested.

Keep out of reach of children.

Test

Important Collection Notes

Specimen Storage

All Tests

  •  Accuracy of the test results depends on the accuracy of the specimen collection. Instructions must be followed carefully.
  • Do not take specimen (stool) from the toilet bowl.
  • Do not contaminate the specimen with water or urine!
  • If the doctor has ordered more than one stool sample for collection, then collect these on separate days.

Do not collect multiple samples on the same day - you will be asked to re-collect them.

 

C&S - Culture and Senitivity

  • Use collection container with pink fluid and green lid.
  • Do not fill past "fill line" marked on the side of the collection container.

Room Temperature

O&P - Ova and Parasites

  • Use collection container with clear fluid and red lid.
  • Do not fill past "fill line" marked on the side of the collection container.

Room Temperature

Clostridium difficile

  •  Use sterile collection container without fluid.
  • Do not over fill; add 2 to 3 tablespoons of stool sample to the collection container.

Collection container should not be filled more than half full

  • Test is only performed on liquid stools.

Refrigerate

Stool Leukocytes

  •  Use sterile collection container without fluid.
  • Do not over fill; add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the watery, blood or slimy portions of stool sample to the collection container.

Collection container should not be filled more than half full.

Refrigerate

Steps:

Collection Instructions:

 

 

1. Confirm the collection container if labelled correctly with:

  • your (the patient) first and last name and
  • another identifier such as the date of birth or healthcare number.

Incorrectly or incompetently labelled specimens will not be tested.

 

 

2. Wash hands thoroughly.

 

 

3. Collect a sample of stool. There are two different methods to collect a stool sample:
First Method: Place a newspaper or plastic wrap underneath the toliet seat, but hanging over the water in the toilet Do not let water touch the stool sample.
Second Method: Collect the sample in any clean and dry disposable container (i.e. plastic container, paper plate.)

 

4. Remove the lid from the collection container and set aside.
Avoid touching the inside of the collection container and lid.

 

 

5. Collect specimen, as per method listed in step 3, and then transfer a small portions of the stool in the collection container provided by the laboratory.

  • For C&S and O&P use the scoop inside the collection container.
  • For C. difficile use disposable spoon, etc.

 

 

 

6. Tightly secure the lid.  Mix C&S and O&P collection container by inverting the collection container 5 to 10 minutes.

 

 

7. Wash hands thoroughly.

 

 

8. Clearly write collection date and time on the container.

 

 

9. Place containers in sealed bag; do not place laboratory requisition in the sealed bag.

 

 

10. Deliver the container(s) and lab requisition to the laboratory the same day the collection is finished. Refer to Important Collection Note for specimen storage requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Stool Collections

Sputum Collections

You will be provided with a sterile collection container.

Test

Important Collection Notes

 All Tests

  • Accuracy of the test results depends on the accuracy of the specimen collection.  Instructions must be followed carefully.

  • Collect in a clean environment.

  • Collect specimen in the early morning.

  • If the doctor ha ordered more than one sputum sample for collection, then collect these on separate days.

Do Not Collect Multiple Samples on the Same Day - You will be asked to recollect them.

 
C&S - Culture and Sensitivity

Bring specimen to laboratory on the same day as the collection.  Store specimen at room temperature.

 
TB - Tuberculosis

Bring specimen to laboratory within two hours of collection.  If delivery delayed, refrigerate specimen and bring to laboratory on the same day as the collection.

 Cytology

Prompt delivery of the specimen to laboratory is essential so that a preservative can be added to the specimen for transport to the testing facility.


 Steps:

Collection Instructions:

1.

Confirm the collection container is labeled correctly with:

  • your name (the patient) first and last name

  • Another identifier such as the date of birth or healthcare number.

Incorrectly or incompletely labeled specimens will not be tested.

2.

Rinse mouth with water and discard.  Do not swallow.

3.

Produce specimen by deep coughing.
Saliva is not accepted as sputum.  Improperly collected specimens will have to be recollected.

4.

Remove the lid from the collection container and set aside.
Avoid touching the inside of the collection container and lid.

5.

Collect specimen into the sterile container.

6.

Tightly secure the lid.

7.

Wash hands thoroughly.

8.

Clearly write collection date and time on the container.

9.

Deliver the container(s) and lab requisition to the laboratory the same day the collection is finished.  Refer to Important Collection Notes.


If you have any question or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

24 Hour Urine Collection

You will be provided with a 24 hour collection container.

CAUTION:     The collection container may contain a preservative in the form of a tablet or strong acid solution.  Do not remove this solution from the container.  This solution may cause burns to skin, fabric and many solid materials.  Do not urinate directly into the container.  Do not splash when pouring urine into the container.  If contact occurs, flush are with water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention.  Keep the container in an Upright Position so it does not leak or spill.  Seek medical attention if ingested. 

Keep out of reach of children.

Test 

 Important Collection Notes:

All Tests

  • The accuracy of test results depends on the accuracy of the specimen collection.  Instructions must be followed carefully.

  • Collect in a clean environment.

  • Do not collect urine in metal or glass urinals, pans or containers.

  • Do not fill collection container past 3000mL.  Arrange to pick up another collection container if needed.

  • Females - Do not collect 24 hour urine while menstruating.

Creatine Clearance

Have your blood drawn within 24 hours of starting or finish time of the 24 hour urine collection.  For convenience, have blood drawn when collection containers are obtained or dropped off at the laboratory.

5-HIAA-Serotonin

Contact your physician for approval before discontinuing any medications-
If possible, patient should be off all drugs for 4 days.

  • Drugs that increase levels include: guaiacol (a common ingredient in cough syrups), acetaminophen, mephenesin, methcarbamol, and phenacetin.

  • Drugs that decrease levels include:  corticotrophin, ethanol, hydrazine, imipramine, isoniazid, levodopa, and MAO inhibitors.

Foods to Avoid:
For 2 day prior to and during the collection, avoid: avocadoes, bananas, tomatoes, plums, eggplant, hickory nuts, pineapple, and molluscs.

  • Keep urine refrigerated during collection.

 

Catecholamine
Includes: Epinephrine,
Norepinephrine,
Adrenaline,
Noradrenaline and Dopamine

Contact your physician for approval before discontinuing any medications

  • Discontinue Methyldopa (Aldomet) at least 5 days prior to collection.

  • Hypertensive medications as well as any medication which may influence the in vivo production of the catecholamines should be discontinued for 2 days prior to the collection.

  • Restrict caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for 24 hours prior to collection.

  • Keep urine refrigerated during collection.

     

     

Metanephrines
Includes
Normetanephrines

Contact your physician for approval before discontinuing any medications

  • Discontinue Methyldopa (Aldomet) at least 5 days prior to collection.

  • Discontinue the use of Tylenol (Acetaminophen) for at least 3 days prior to and during the collection.

  • Dopamine (used to treat Parkinson's disease) interferes in the chromatography.

  • Restrict caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for 24 hours prior to collection.

  • Keep urine refrigerated during collection.

 

Oxalate

  •  For 48 hours prior to and during the collection, avoid excessive amounts of Vitamin C, or Vitamin C rich foods.

  • Keep urine refrigerated during collection.

VMA - Vanillylmandelic Acids

Contact your physician for approval before discontinuing any medications

  • Discontinue Methyldopa (Aldomet) at least 5 days prior to collection.

  • Restrict caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for 24 hours prior to collection.

  • Keep urine refrigerated during collection.

 

 Steps:

 Collection Instructions:

1.

Confirm the collection container is labeled correctly with:

  • your (patient) first and last name and

  • another identifier such as the date of birth or healthcare number.

Incorrectly or incompletely labeled specimens will not be tested.

2.

Select a start time.  Empty your bladder into the toilet as usual.  Make a note of date and time, see example below.

3.

Record this date and time on the collection container label as the start time and date.
Also record this date and time in the start time and date:__________space provided on the laboratory requisition.

4.

The next time you urinate, collect and pour all urine into the container(s) provided, for a complete 24 hour period.
Note:  Do not urinate (pee) directly into the container.  Urinate in a clean container (example, ice cream pail) first and then pour the urine in the collection container.  Replace the lid tightly after each collection.  Swirl gently to mix.  Keep the container upright and in a cool, dark place.

5.

Collect your final urine sample at the same time of day as the start time.  Try to collect the last sample at this time even if you do not feel the urge to urinate.  Empty your bladder completely.

6.

Record this time and date on the collection container label as the finish date and time.  Also record the time and date in the finish date and time:__________space provided on the laboratory requisition.

7.

Wash hands thoroughly. 

8.

Deliver the container(s) and lab requisition to the laboratory the same day the collection is finished.


Example:

  •  First urine - is voided at 8:00am on September 1, into the toilet.  Record the start date and time on the container label and requisition as September 1, 8:00am.

  •  Second urine same day - is voided into a clean collection container and then poured into the collection container provided by the laboratory.  This urine and all other urines within the next 24 hours are collected.

  •  24 hours from the first urine - urine is voided at 8:00am on September 2, into a clean collection container and then poured into the collection container provided by the laboratory.  Record the finish date and time on the container label and requisition as September 2, 8:00am.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - 24 Hour Urine Collection

Mid Stream Urine Collection

You will be provided with a sterile collection container and a cleansing towelette.

Test

 Important Collection Notes

All Tests

  • Accuracy of the test results depends on the accuracy of the specimen collection.  Instructions must be followed carefully.

  • Collect in a clean environment.

  • During specimen collection the collection container should be held in such a way that contact with the legs or clothing is avoided. 

U&A - Urinalysis

  • Bring specimen to laboratory within one hour of collection.  If collecting at home and delay is unavoidable keep the specimen in the refrigerator and bring to the laboratory with 12 hours.

C&S - Culture and Sensitivity

  • Bring specimen to laboratory within one hour of collection.  If collecting at home and delay is unavoidable keep the specimen in the refrigerator and bring to the laboratory within four hours.

  • Collect specimen in the early morning whenever possible.

  • Only fill urine collection container 1/2 to 2/3 full with a midstream collection.

 Cytology

  • Do not collect the first voided urine of the day.  The second voided urine specimen should be obtained one to two hours later.

  • Only fill urine collection container 1/3 full with a midstream collection.

  • Prompt delivery of the specimen to laboratory is essential so that a preservative can be added to the specimen for transport to the testing facility.

  • If the doctor has ordered more than one urine sample for collection, then collect these on separate days.

Do Not Collect Multiple Samples on the Same Day - You will be asked to recollect them.


Steps:

 'Male' - Collection Instructions:

1.

Confirm the collection container is labeled correctly with:

  • your (patient) first and last name and

  • another identifier such as the date of birth or healthcare number.

Incorrectly or incompletely labeled specimens will not be tested.

2.

Wash hands with soap and water, rinse and dry hands.

3.

Remove the lid from the collection container and set aside.
Avoid touching the inside of the collection container and lid.

4.

Cleanse the end of the penis with special towelette provided, beginning at the urethral opening and work away from it.

5.

Void (pee) a small portion of urine into the toilet.  Momentarily stop the urine flow, then resume the flow and collect a portion of the urine into the container.

6.

Void (pee) the remainder of urine into the toilet.

7.

Tightly secure the lid.

8.

Wash hands thoroughly.

9.

Write date and time of collection on collection container(s) label and on the laboratory requisition.

10.

Deliver the container(s) and lab requisition to the laboratory the same day the collection is finished.  Refer to Important Collection Notes.

 

 Steps:

 'Female' - Collection Instructions:

1.

Confirm the collection container is labeled correctly with:

  • your (the patient) first and last name

  • another identifier such as the date of birth or healthcare number.

Incorrectly or incompletely labeled specimens will not be tested.

2.

Wash hands with soap and water, rinse and dry hands.

3.

Remove the lid from the collection container and set aside.
Avoid touching the inside of the collection container and lid.

4.

Stand in a squatting position over the toilet or sit comfortably on the seat and swing one knee to the side as far as possible.

5.

Wash your urogenital (bottom) area with the special towelette provided.  With one hand, hold the labia apart and clean the folds of your skin from front to back including the area in which you pass urine (pee), with the towelette.

6.

Void (pee) a small portion of urine into the toilet.  Momentarily stop the urine flow, then resume the flow and collect a portion of the urine into the container.

7.

Void (pee) the remainder of urine into the toilet.

8.

Tightly secure the lid.

9.

Wash hands thoroughly.

10.

Write date and time of collection on collection container(s) label and on the laboratory requisition.

11.

Deliver the container(s) and lab requisition to the laboratory the same day the collection is finished. Refer to Important Collection Notes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Mid Stream Urine Collection

Semen Analysis

Fertility Investigation and Post Vasectomy Specimens collection instructions:

1. No sexual activity (masturbation or intercourse) 2 - 7 days before specimen collection. (No less than 2 days, no longer than 7 days).

2. The laboratory requires a fresh and complete specimen for examination. All of the ejaculate must be collected. Test results may not be accurate if any of the sample, especially the first part of the sample, was spilled or lost during collection. Please check the correct box below and give this sheet to the staff at the Laboratory when you drop off you specimen for testing.

COMPLETE SAMPLE: YES □ NO □

3.
Specimen is to be obtained by masturbation. Ejaculate the entire specimen into the container provided by the laboratory or physician. Do Not Use any other container, or a condom or a lubricant of any kind.

4. Print your full name, the date and time you collected the specimen on the container label.

5. Deliver only to the Hospital Lab Outpatient Department within 30 minutes of collection and before 12 noon, Monday - Thursday.

  • The sample must be kept at body temperature until delivered to the lab by carrying it in an inner pocket against the body.
  • When you arrive go directly to the front desk and tell the staff you have a time sensitive specimen.
  • Prompt delivery of the specimen to the laboratory is essential to ensure the accuracy of the test results as the sample must be processed within 1 hour of collection.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Semen Analysis

MRSA and VRE SWAB Collections

You will be provided with 2 swabs.

Before you are admitted to the hospital for your surgery, you will be screened for Antibiotic Resistant Organisms. This involves taking swabs from your nose and rectum. You can take these swabs yourself, or if you need help you can go to your family doctor's office.

MRSA SWAB (NOSE)

  • The MRSA swab is taken from the nose.
  • Take the cotton tipped swab from the package, and insert it into the gel at the bottom of the plastic tube. Gently dip the cotton tip in to the gel to moisten it.
  • Take the moistened swab and roll it at the entrance of both sides of the nose, using the same swab for both nostrils.
  • Place the cotton tipped swab into the plastic tube with the gel at the bottom.
  • The swab should already be labeled with your name and 'Nose Swab' on the tube.
  • Clearly write collection date and time on swab.

VRE SWAB (RECTUM)

  • The VRE swab is taken from the rectum or from a stool sample.  If you have a colostomy, you may gently dip the cotton tipped swab in to the stoma.
  • Using a new swab, moisten the cotton tip with the gel at the bottom of the plastic tube provided.
  • Gently insert the cotton tip into the rectum, or dip the cotton tip into a sample from the bowel movement (collected from a piece of toilet paper or paper towel) to obtain some fecal matter on the tip of the swab. The swab MUST have visible stool on it.
  • Place the cotton tipped swab back into the plastic tube with the gel at the bottom.
  • The swab should already be labeled with your name and 'Stool or Rectal Swab' on the tube.
  • Clearly write collection date and time on swab.

If swab are collected at home, please return them back to the laboratory that gave you the swabs within 24 hours of collection.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.
For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - MRSA and VRE Swab Collections

Fecal Occult Blood FIT Test Collection

 

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Fecal Occult Blood FIT Test Collection

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.

For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Stool for Ova and Parasites

You have been provided with a special container for Ova & Parasites analysis.

The container provided contains a solution. Do not discard. For accidental ingestion, contact a physician for Poison Control Centre immediately. Avoid contact with skin or eyes. Flush immediately with running water.

  • Wash hand thoroughly.
  • Collect bowel movement into a clean, dry wide-mouthed container. ie:
    margaine or ice cream container. The stool sample must not be contaminated
    by urine or water. Do not take specimen from the toilet bowl.
  • Using the spatula attached to the lid of the O&P container, place enough specimen into the
    container to raise the liquid to the 'fill' line marked on the outside of the container. DO NOT FILL PAST 'FILL LINE.'
  • Secure lid lightly.  Mix the stool by inverting or shaking container.
  • Wash hands.
  • Label the container with your name, date and time of collection.

Do not refrigerate specimen. Keep in the paper bag provided. Bring the sample to the lab within 24 hours.

Note: If your doctor has ordered more than one O&P sample to be collected then collect these on separate days and one day apart.  Bring each sample to the lab within 24 hours of collection.

DO NOT COLLECT MULTIPLE SAMPLES ON THE SAME DAY. YOU WILL BE ASKED TO RECOLLECT THEM.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.

For the results of your test, please contact your doctor.

Printable Patient Information Sheet - Stool for Ova & Parasites

Vaginal Swab Collection

 PATIENT INFORMATION SHEET - VAGINAL SWAB COLLECTION

 Vaginal SWAB Collection

 You will be provided with 1 or 2 swabs and a plastic bag.

 At your Physicians request, you are being asked to collect a vaginal swab.

 Test

Important Collection Notes

Specimen Storage

Starswab II

After opening plastic packaging remove and discard white plug from transport tube before collecting sample.

Room Temperature

 

 

 

BD ProbeTec
ET swab

After opening packaging discard white swab with large cotton tip, collect sample using the pink topped swab.

Room Temperature

 

 

 

Collection Instructions:

  •  Wash hands with soap water.

  • Open the swab packaging.

  • Remove the swab from the plastic wrapper.

  • Do NOT touch the cotton tip with your hands or lay the swab down.

  • Insert the swab into your vagina about two inches.

  • Gently rotate for 10 to 30 seconds.

  • Withdraw the swab without touching the skin.

  • Place the swab into the transport tube in the collection kit and push until swab is firmly in place.

  • Repeat with second swab if applicable.

  • Clearly label the transport tube(s) with your first and last name, date of birth, date and time of collection.

  • Place swab(s) inside the plastic bag.  Insert the requisition into the pouch on the outside of the bag.

If swab(s) are collected at home return swab(s) to Laboratory within 24 hours of collection.  Store swab(s) at room temperature until delivery to the Laboratory.  Give swab and requisition to Laboratory staff.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Laboratory.  For results of your test, please contact your Physician.