In this section
Refer to EMR tip sheet for further information
The patient should be ready for transfusion prior to picking up blood from the blood bank. eg appropriate IV access, consent completed, pre-medication administered if required.
For any non-emergency transfusion the patient/parents should have had the benefits/risks of transfusion discussed and an opportunity to have any questions answered. Consent for transfusion should then be documented on a blood transfusion
For further information and for parent and patient information see:
Consent and Consumer Information Guideline
The safe transfusion of blood and blood products requires strict adherence to patient identification processes during all steps in the transfusion chain, including collecting the product from blood bank. Blood bank scientists must know they are issuing to the correct patient and require complete patient identification. This includes:
The blood bank release form contains all required patient identification. During EMR downtime use the green blood bank release card and attach a patient identification label.
Blood products are issued from blood bank in 2 ways:
Blood products should only be released in EMR and retrieved from blood bank when the transfusion is ready to commence. This ensures appropriate storage of blood products. Blood products must not be stored in ward areas or domestic fridges.
Fresh blood products must be commenced within 30 minutes of leaving the blood bank. If circumstances change the fresh blood product must be returned to blood bank for storage.
This does not apply to albumin products. Albumin can be kept at room temperature for a maximum of 24 hours. If the requirement for albumin changes, it should be returned to blood bank at the earliest convenience.
The blood box provides a validated, short term (up to 4 hours) storage for red cells at the point of care. It has a timer attached.
The blood box can be requested for patients who are at risk of critical bleeding and red cells are required to be at the bedside “just in case”. Select the blood box in the prepare section of the red cell order.
Examples of patients who may need a blood box are as follows:
Discuss patients who fall outside of these pre-approved circumstances with the on-call haematologist.
Keep the lid closed at all times to maintain an environment cool enough to keep the RBC’s at a temperature to minimize bacterial growth. The lid may be opened to quickly inspect the contents but should otherwise remain closed.
Do not place any equipment or other blood products inside the blood box.
A maximum of 2 units of RBCs will be placed inside the box. Do not place the blood box near a heater or in a refrigerator.
If the timer alerts, return the blood box to blood bank. If red cells are still required these may be ordered again.
When ready to transfuse the blood product:
This will print a release form to the nearest printer. Complete all fields including your name, clinical area, PTS number (if applicable) and phone number. This will allow prompt communication from blood bank when the blood product is ready.
For general wards, release will be limited to the following quantities at a time:
Special arrangements are available to the Emergency Department, ICU, NICU and Operating Suites for release of greater quantities.
Two clinicians must independently complete the patient and blood product identification check at the bedside. By electronically signing the blood administration flowsheet checks in EMR they indicate they have correctly completed this process.
At the bedside, if possible ask the patient or parent/guardian to state the patient's legal name and date of birth
Once patient identification confirmed check the blood product
Two staff members independently check:
If the blood product is removed from the bedside after the patient identification check is complete, the whole checking process must be repeated. This includes blood products removed from the bedside for priming of circuits.
Spike the unit only after all checks listed above are completed. The person spiking the unit must be one of the clinicians undertaking the patient and blood product identification check. 1
Prime blood administration set at the bedside.
If there is any discrepancy between the blood product, patient details & pack tag/label or if you
are concerned about the appearance of the product DO NOT
TRANSFUSE. Report to Blood Bank immediately: extension 55829
Patients receiving transfusion should be monitored for
symptoms/signs of potential complications of
Vital signs for fresh blood products (temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure, oxygen saturations and site observations) should be measured and recorded
This is a minimum requirement. Some clinical areas may require more frequent observations particularly in unstable or unconscious patients.
Patients should be directly observed during the first 15 minutes of transfusion as some life-threatening reactions may occur after the infusion of only a small amount of blood. Where possible, patients and families should be informed of possible symptoms of a transfusion reaction and
should inform staff immediately if they feel unwell during transfusion.
For information about observation requirements for fractionated blood products, refer to the product page.