Transfusion practice

BloodSafe has developed a set of resources to provide clinicians with information on recommended transfusion practices.


Consent is a process – not a piece of paper. Use a competent interpreter when the patient is not fluent in English.

Give written information and use diagrams where appropriate.

Explain to your patient:

  • cause/likelihood of bleeding/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 your patient:

  • is there anything else you would like to know?
  • is there anything you do not understand?

Refer to your hospital/health service policy for documentation requirements and when/if consent is required.

More information

For more information about transfusion risks and obtaining consent process, see the:

Prescribing of blood and blood components

Quick reference guides on red cell transfusion for:

When patients are transfused, a medical records sticker (PDF 104KB) needs to go into the patient's notes. These stickers prompt to help record the clinical indication for red cell transfusion.

Administration of blood and blood components

Internationally-standardised format of donation numbers on blood packs (ISBT 128) 

Resources to support the transition to the ISBT 128 format of donation numbers on blood packs by SA Pathology to support SA Health Hospitals.

Collecting specimens

Resources to help with correct patient identification:

Label before you leave


Emergency Use of Group O Red Cells

Group O RhD negative red blood cells (RBC) have traditionally been used for all emergency transfusions, resulting in demand that often exceeds available supply. A recently released National Statement recommends the use of O RhD positive red cells for males over the age of 18 and females over the age of 50 for emergency transfusion.

To assist with this change a number of resources are available, including a:

  • Fact Sheet, and a flow chart for the emergency use of group O red cells
  • FAQs that provide guidance for specific patient groups
  • PowerPoint Presentation that can be adapted and used for educational sessions in your organisation
  • National Statement for the Emergency Use of Group O Red Cells.


One therapeutic adult dose of cryoprecipitate is now 4 packs, instead of the previous 5 packs. Changes to the collection and processing of plasma collection by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood have resulted in increased fibrinogen content per pack. Cryoprecipitate Clinical Update

Fibrinogen Concentrate


Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) product administration guidelines

Administration guidelines for:

Paediatric transfusion information kit

A Paediatric transfusion information kit has produced to help explain what will happen and why transfusions are needed for children. The kit is available on the Blood transfusions page, or for printed copies contact BloodSafe.

The paediatric transfusion information kit was produced collaboratively by:

  • BloodSafe
  • the Australian Red Cross Blood Service
  • the New Zealand Blood Service
  • the Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion.

The kit was originally created by the National Health Service in the UK and has been adapted for Australia and New Zealand.