Transfusion process

The transfusion process for the safe administration of blood products has a number of important steps that need to be followed including:

  • decision to transfuse and informed consent
  • prescription and request for transfusion
  • pretransfusion sample collection and compatibility testing
  • blood collection and delivery
  • administration
  • monitoring and observation, and
  • documentation and traceability.

Each of these steps requires high-level communication skills across the health disciplines and with the patient to ensure safe and appropriate transfusion happens consistently.

Local health services must have a policy and guideline to assist safe processes within their organisations.

Decision to transfuse and informed consent

The decision to transfuse a patient must be based on a thorough clinical assessment considering the individual’s needs. They must also be fully informed about the potential benefits and risks.

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Prescription and request for transfusion

The prescription is the documented authorisation to administer the blood component or product, and is a critical part of safe and appropriate transfusion practice.

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Pretransfusion sample collection and compatibility testing

To avoid transfusion mistakes, a correctly labelled pretransfusion blood sample must be collected from the intended recipient.

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Blood collection and delivery

Appropriate checking procedures when collecting blood components reduces the risk of transfusion of the wrong component to the wrong patient.

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The last step of the transfusion process to ensure the right component is transfused to the right patient.

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Monitoring and Observation

Frequent visual observations and monitoring of vital signs during transfusion are essential to identify signs of reactions or adverse events.

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Documentation and Traceability

Clear documentation of transfusions allows accurate review of records when required. There is a requirement that all blood donations can be traced from the donor to the final fate of the blood component or fractionated product.

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