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Blood transfusion may be a life-saving treatment for patients. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Use of Blood Components were developed to support clinical decisions about appropriate transfusion practices and the use of blood components (red blood cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate).(1)
Safe transfusion is dependent on having a safe and reliable blood supply, and also a safe clinical transfusion process.(2) The clinical transfusion process has a number of steps, involving multiple people from various departments and organisations.
All healthcare institutions that transfuse blood and blood products should have policies and procedures in place for every step of the clinical transfusion process. Appropriate and correct systems aid in the safety of patients.
The steps involved in the clinical transfusion process include:
Within Australia, the Australian Health Ministers recently endorsed the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards in September 20112. These standards provide a clear statement about the level of care consumers can expect from health services.(3) Incorporated within the standards is a specific element for the clinical transfusion process – Standard 7- Blood and Blood Products.(3)