Decision to transfuse and informed consent

The decision to transfuse and the consideration of other blood management strategies, must be based on a thorough clinical assessment of the patient and of that person’s individual needs.

The indication for transfusion or other blood management strategies must be documented in the patient’s healthcare record.

All blood transfusions must have a valid informed consent.

It can be provided by the patient, parent or legal guardian, or follow the emergency medical procedure consent protocols.

A conversation about the reasons for transfusion and expectations of clinical outcomes must take place between the clinician and the patient or guardian.

Any information provided should be in line with the patient or guardian’s literacy level and in a way they can understand.

Consent must be documented in the patient’s medical record and/or on a transfusion-specific consent form in accordance with local health service policy.

Refer to your local health service policy regarding consent processes for blood transfusion, including inability to obtain consent and for patients who refuse.

All elements of the consent process should be aligned to local, State or territory and national requirements.

Informed consent checklist

Always obtain and document consent from your patient.

Check your local institutional guidelines about informed consent.

Always cover the following when acquiring informed consent:

 

Explain

Cause/likelihood of bleeding or the low blood count (including any uncertainty).

Nature of the proposed transfusion therapy—what is involved.

Benefits expected.

Risks common and rare but serious.

Alternatives, including the risk of doing nothing.

 

Ask

Is there anything else you would like to know?

Is there anything you do not understand?

 

Provide

Interpreter for non-English speaking patients.

Written information.

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