Collecting Samples At Home

The specimen you will be collecting at home will provide essential information. Your physician will use the results to decide the next steps, if any, in your treatment plan. It is important to carefully follow instructions to ensure the sample is not tainted and provides accurate information. Store the container at the temperature described in the collection instructions. Deliver your specimen as soon as possible to your doctor or the laboratory that gave you the container. 

What are important steps I should ensure I do while collecting a sample? 

  • Always thoroughly wash and dry hands before and after collection. 
  • After collection, make sure the lid is secured and fastened evenly, as leaky specimens will be rejected. 
  • After collection wipe the container off with a paper towel. 
  • Label specimen clearly to include: 
    • Patient’s full name
    • Date of birth
    • Time and date of collection 
  • Return specimen(s) to your physician office or deliver sample to any outpatient lab during regular hours. Keep container upright at all times. No appointment necessary. Specimen will need to be registered at time of delivery to ensure a quality specimen was collected.

How do I perform a Sputum Collection? 

  • Collect your sputum specimen(s) upon awakening, before eating. 
  • Do not collect saliva or spit. 

Directions: 

  1. Rinse your mouth with water. 
  2. Inhale and then cough deeply (from the diaphragm) and expel directly into the sterile specimen (white top) container provided by your doctor or lab. (Do not touch the inside of the container or contaminate it in any other way.) Avoid collecting saliva. 
  3. Repeat three to four times until at least a tablespoonful is collected. 
  4. Make sure container lid is fastened evenly and securely. 
  5. Label container with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection. 
  6. Deliver the sample as soon as possible

How do I perform a Stool Collection?

  • If you have several vials to fill, you may fill multiple vials from the same bowel movement as long as they don’t have the same colored top. Each colored top container is used for different testing. 
  • If collecting multiple specimens for ova and parasite, it is often recommended that a minimum of 3 specimens be collected over the course of 7 to 10 days. Successive specimens submitted on the same day will be rejected. 
  • If collecting for Clostridium Difficile (C-diff) your stool must be liquid (watery). Soft or formed stools will be rejected. Contact your health professional if your stools are no longer liquid and they have ordered this test.

Directions:

  1. Collect the specimen in a dry, clean container. A common container is a clean disposable plastic (e.g., margarine) container.
  2. Do not contaminate the stool specimen with urine or scoop the sample from the toilet bowl. 
  3. If the stool is liquid, transfer the specimen by pouring it from the clean container into the testing vials. If the stool is solid, use the scoop provided with each vial to transfer the specimen to the testing vials.
  4. Stool culture (colored cap) and ova and parasite (different colored cap) containers include a liquid. Caution: The liquid is poisonous. Do not splash or spill it. Keep out of the reach of children. 
  5. Fill the vial until the liquid reaches the line on the label. Do not overfill. Do not refrigerate.
  6. Collect all other tests in the clean (white cap) container. Fill the vial to the line. Do not overfill. Refrigerate the clean vial (white cap) until you are ready to transport to lab. 
  7. Make sure container lid is fastened evenly and securely.
  8. Label containers with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection. Be sure the caps are secure and place containers in a paper sack. 
  9. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.

How do I perform a Kidney Stone Analysis Collection?

Read instructions before beginning collection. Most stones are small enough to pass out of the body on their own. Each urine collection should be filtered until the stone has passed. It is important to filter your urine during your first-morning void, because the stone may have passed to the bladder or urinary tract during the night. 

Directions:

  1. Use the filter provided to filter urine.
  2. Check the filter for any particles that may be a stone. The stone can be very small and look like a grain of sand or small piece of gravel. Check the filter carefully.
  3. If a stone is found, place it in a clean, dry container provided. 
    1. Do not tape the stone to container as tape will affect testing.
    2. Do not put any liquid in the container.
    3. Do not send the filter.
  4. Write patient name, date of birth, and date and time of collection on the sticker on the container.
  5. Place the container in bag provided. 
  6. Keep the stone at room temperature. 
  7. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.

How do I perform a 24-Hour Urine Collection?

This test is valid only if the collection includes all urine passed in a 24-hour period. If any of the urine passed during the 24 hours is not put into the collection container, the test will be inaccurate. You have been supplied with a urine collection container. It may or may not contain a white tablet or some liquid. Do not discard contents. This is a preservative necessary for the accuracy of the particular test your doctor has ordered. Do not allow the liquid to come in contact with your skin. If there is an accidental spill onto your skin, immediately wash the involved area thoroughly with water. If irritation persists, call your physician. Collect urine in another clean container first, and then immediately pour the urine into the larger container with the preservative in it.

Directions: 

  1. Continue your normal diet, medication, and fluid intake regimen during the urine collection period, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  2. Start the 24-hour collection period when you arise in the morning. Empty your bladder at that time but do not collect this urine since it was formed before the collection period. Record this time as the time you began the urine collection period.
  3. After the start time, collect all urine that you pass for the next 24 hours. For the final collection, empty your bladder at the same time noted above on the following day. Include this urine in the container since this urine was formed during the collection period. Record the time you completed the urine collection period.
  4. Keep all urine refrigerated during the collection period, except urine uric acid specimens, which must be kept at room temperature. You may store refrigerated specimen containers in a cooler with ice or outdoors if the weather is cold.
  5. Should you have a bowel movement during the 24-hour period, try to pass your urine prior to the bowel movement to avoid loss of urine.
  6. For tests requiring a preservative, mix all urine thoroughly with the preservative.
  7. If the volume of urine is greater than the first container and a preservative has been added, pour half of the collected urine into a second container without preservative or obtain a second container with preservative from the lab. Then continue to collect the additional urine in the second container. 
  8. Make sure the lid is fastened evenly and securely. 
  9. Label the container with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection. 
  10. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.

How do I perform a Clean Catch Midstream (CCMS) Urine Collection?

A clean-catch specimen is a way of collecting urine that contains less bacteria from the skin. Please follow these instructions to collect a clean-catch midstream urine specimen:

Directions: 
Female: 

  1. Wash hands with soap and water and dry them.
  2. Open the urine cup. Do not touch the inside of the container.
  3. Sit on the toilet.
  4. Using the opened wipe, clean the genital area (private area) from front to back.
  5. Throw the wipe in the trash.
  6. Urinate a few drops into the toilet. 
  7. Then, collect the middle part of the urine (stream) into the cup.
  8. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  9. Make sure the lid is fastened evenly and securely.
  10. Wipe off the cup with a paper towel.
  11. Wash your hands.
  12. Label the cup with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection.
  13. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.

Male:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water and dry them. - Open the urine cup. Do not touch the inside of the container.
  2. Using the opened wipe, clean the tip of your penis.
  3. Throw the wipe in the trash.
  4. Urinate a few drops into the toilet.
  5. Then, collect the middle part of the urine (stream) into the cup.
  6. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  7. Make sure the lid is fastened evenly and securely.
  8. Wipe off the cup with a paper towel.
  9. Wash your hands. Label the cup with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection.
  10. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.

How do I perform a First Void Urine (“Dirty Urine”) for STI testing (Chlamydia/Gonorrhea/ Trichomonas NAAT) Collection?

Morning collection is preferred. Patient should not have voided for at least one hour prior to collection. This is not the same specimen collection procedure as a clean catch midstream urine. If both types of specimens must be collected, perform this procedure first, and then follow the clean catch procedure. Do not cleanse the genital area prior to specimen collection.

Directions:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them.
  2. Open the urine cup. Do not touch the inside of the container.
  3. Urinate directly into the container, collecting the first portion of urine. 
  4. Fill container 1/3 full (Do not overfill). Finish urinating into the toilet OR if you are also collecting a clean catch midstream, follow clean catch procedure.  
    1. Make sure the lid is fastened evenly and securely.
    2. Wipe off the cup with a paper towel.
    3. Wash your hands.
    4. Label the cup with patient’s full name, date of birth, and date and time of collection. 
    5. Deliver the sample as soon as possible.