Blood is life and it’s an amazing fluid which keeps us alive. It’s the amazing gift we give to others to help them heal and live. Each and every day, patients in local hospitals served by BloodCenter of the town need several units of blood. You may not always see their faces, but the adults and children you help with your gift of blood are very real.
Blood donation is a voluntary procedure. You agree to have blood drawn so that it can be given to someone who needs a blood transfusion. Millions of people need blood transfusions each year. Some may need blood during surgery. Others depend on it after an accident or because they have a disease that requires blood components. Blood donation makes all of this possible.
First you might be called for health screening, where a donor career confirms your identity. S/he must ensure that it's safe for you to donate and your donation is safe for a patient to receive. S/he asks some confidential questions based on your completed Donor Health Check. There is a period of time from contact with any infection to detecting markers in the laboratory. S/he trust your honesty when answering these personal questions. This will ensure your blood is safe to transfuse to patients.
You may be referred to a registered nurse for certain medical queries. An explanation will always be provided if you are not able to donate. You will be advised when you can donate, and she’ll encourage you to make an appointment before you leave. For your well being, she must ensure you have enough haemoglobin (iron) in your blood before donating. A small blood sample will be taken from your finger to test your haemoglobin levels. If your test is borderline, she will offer you a confirmatory test. This requires a sample of blood from your arm, to be tested in a machine at the session. She will advise you of the result.
Following health screening, you will be asked to sit in a different waiting area. From here you’ll be called and escorted to a donation chair.
When you are comfortable on the chair, you will be asked your name, address and date of birth again. Blood bags and sample tubes are labelled with unique donor identification numbers. All collection equipment is single use and sterile; only one blood bag is filled with your donation.
A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to maintain a small amount of pressure during your donation. The cuff is not used to measure blood pressure. Your arm will be thoroughly examined to find a suitable vein before being cleaned with an antiseptic sponge. This kills normal bacteria (germs) on the skin. You will see staff cleaning their hands frequently, using hand wipes or gels.
Donors are advised to do applied muscle tension exercises during donation. This is to maintain blood pressure and promote well being during and after donation. Following needle insertion you should be comfortable during your donation. If you experience any discomfort or pain please alert a member of staff.
An agitator scale constantly weighs and measures your donation. It will stop automatically when your donation is complete. Donor carers will be available to you throughout your donation. You may hear beeping noises from the agitator, these inform us of the progress of your donation. A full donation is 470ml and will usually take between 5 and 10 minutes. If you require assistance or have any concerns, please make us aware by raising your non-donation arm.
After donation, the needle will be removed and a sterile dressing applied to your arm. We advise that you leave the pressure roll on for 30 minutes and the plaster dressing on for six hours. Please avoid using this arm to push on or to carry anything heavy. We will give you a card at the end of your donation with important care advice.