Collection & delivery of blood to the ward or operating theatre

A common cause of transfusion reactions is the transfusion of an incorrect blood component.

This is often due to mistakes when collecting blood components from the hospital blood bank or identification of the patient immediately prior to transfusion.

Hospitals must have a written policy for the collection of blood components and their delivery to the clinical area where the transfusion is to be given.

Recommended procedure

  • The policy should define which members of staff are responsible for this procedure

  • Blood components requiring refrigeration must be stored only in blood storage refrigerators and not in ward or domestic refrigerators

  • Blood components must only be stored or transported, as appropriate, in boxes designed and validated for this purpose, including the time for which storage is satisfactory

  • Always take written details to the transfusion laboratory or the blood fridge and know what type of product you are going to collect

  • The staff member removing blood components from the storage facility must have documentation containing the patient’s identification details and this information should be checked before removing the blood

  • Withdrawals and returns of blood components should be documented, including the date and time of removal and return (if applicable)

  • Staff in the ward or operating theatre must check that the correct blood component has been delivered

  • Only one unit of red cells at a time for each patient should be removed from a blood storage refrigerator unless extremely rapid transfusion of large quantities of blood is required