Department of Health

Organisation-wide governance and quality systems are used to ensure safe and high-quality care for patient’s own blood, and to ensure that blood product requirements are met (ACSQHC; 2017).

The Blood Management Standard can be found on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health CareExternal Link website. This criterion is closely aligned with and should be read in conjunction with the Clinical Governance StandardExternal Link and the Partnering with Consumers StandardExternal Link . An organisation wide, systematic approach is required to meet the criterion.

The actions and their requirements in this criterion have been outlined on this page.

Integrating clinical governance 7.1

Applying quality improvement systems 7.2

  • This includes blood management quality performance indicators, quality and safety improvement, and quality surveillance.

    Job description for transfusion nurse/safety office and transfusion trainer

    Job description for transfusion nurse/safety officer - blood management transfusion nurses/safety officers are a key component of the quality improvement and risk management system for blood. This generic template provides an example of the specified requirements of these positions.

    Job description for transfusion trainer - transfusion trainers are a key component of the quality improvement and risk management system for blood in smaller organisations where only small amounts of blood are used. This generic template provides an example of the specified requirements of these positions.

    Blood Matters blood management and transfusion practice handbook 2023

    The handbook is aimed at providing blood management transfusion nurses/trainers and quality officers, to understand the context of blood and blood products in Australia. It also provides structure and guidance to achieve best-practice in blood management and transfusion practice.

  • Quality improvements should be monitored and reported through the relevant governance committee, such as blood management committee or executive quality committee.

    Blood Matters health service Blood Management Committee reports

    These committee reports are aimed at informing health services blood management committees (or equivalent) with an overview of the activities of the Blood Matters program.

    They also provide an overarching context of blood management in Victoria.

    These reports are produced twice a year.

  • Royal Melbourne Hospital quality improvement summary

    The Royal Melbourne Hospital quality improvement summary report is an example and used as an easy way to promote improvements in a simple easy-to-follow way. It is a useful snapshot of improvements for accreditation.

  • Blood Matters audits and reporting

    The Blood Matters audits contribute to health service requirements for monitoring performance and reporting results. The audit tools provide assessment against best practice guidelines.

    The data is:

    • analysed
    • benchmarked with peer health service
    • reported to individual health services.

    The audit reports are published with recommendations and discussion.

    The data collection tools are available for health services to conduct audits on blood management and transfusion practice.

    The tools available include:

    • guidance on appropriateness of red cell, platelet and Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) transfusions
    • transfusion information
    • information on cumulative phlebotomy loss
    • a quick anaemia assessment.

Partnering with consumers 7.3

  • It is important that patients and carers are actively involved in their own care.

    Treatment plans should be developed with patients and carers.

    Consumer information should be provided about the risks and benefits of blood and blood product transfusion, the risks of not having a recommended transfusion, as well as alternatives that may be available or that can reduce the need for a transfusion.

    Consumers should have an opportunity to ask questions and the provider of the information should ensure the recipient has understood the information. Information (written and verbal) for consumers needs to be in a format the consumer can understand.

  • Consent and refusal of blood

    Informed consent is defined by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) in the Code of conduct for registered health practitioners (2014)External Link as:

    a person’s voluntary decision about their health care that is made with knowledge and understanding of the benefits and risks involved.

    Consent for blood transfusion BMJ (2010)

    Millions of people receive blood transfusions each year, but many will not be fully aware of the risks. In this journal articleExternal Link - Anne-Maree Farrell and Margaret Brazier argue for a formalised consent procedure for blood transfusion.

    Medical Treatment Planning and Decision Act 2016

    The Medical Treatment Planning and Decision Act 2016 has given statutory recognition to advance care directives and simplified and contemporised laws relating to medical treatment decision making for people without decision making capacity.

    The law supports a person’s rights when it comes to medical treatment in Victoria in the following ways:

    • a person has the right to refuse medical treatment in most circumstances
    • the medical practitioner must usually seek the person’s consent prior to carrying out medical treatment
    • a person’s capacity to consent is assumed unless there are indications otherwise
    • a competent person can refuse treatment in relation to a current or future condition under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act by completing a valid instructional directive
    • likewise, the person’s medical treatment decision maker can consent to or refuse treatment on their behalf if they no longer have the capacity to do so themselves.

    The steps for health practitioners to follow when a patient does not have decision-making capacity to make their own medical treatment decision is set out in the Act.

    The Office of the Public AdvocateExternal Link provides services for those with diminished capacity and resources for clinicians and the general public to assist with medical decisions.

    Information on Jehova's Witness community and blood transfusion

    The Jehovah’s Witness community is known to refuse blood transfusions and have a number of resources regarding management of patients without the use of allogenic blood.

    The Jehovah’s Witness medical information to cliniciansExternal Link covers clinical strategies for:

    • avoiding blood transfusion in surgical patients
    • avoiding blood transfusion in obstetrics and gynaecology
    • managing acute gastrointestinal haemorrhage without blood transfusion
    • avoiding blood transfusion in critically ill patients.

    The emergency number for the Jehovah’s Witness Hospital Liaison in Victoria is 0414 842 827. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

    Many Victorian Jehovah’s Witness patient carry a 'no blood' card. It provides brief information on how to access their Advance Care Directive.

    An example of the Advance Care Directive and No Blood card are provided in the Jehovah's Witness religious and ethical position statementExternal Link .

    More information

    Further information regarding patient blood management can be found on the patient blood management page.

    Informed consent for blood transfusion template (7.3) - This can be used in the format provided, or adapted as required. Independent legal and professional advice should be sought before using this document.

    St Vincent’s Hospital - consent for administration of blood and blood products - 2021 (7.3) - St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne policy on obtaining informed consent for blood and blood products.

  • Consumer information

    Blood transfusion information for patients - patient information sheets in a standard and simple/visual format that have been developed by Blood Matters with input from consumers/patients.

    Clinical Excellence Commission and Blood Watch program has multiple information sheetsExternal Link - information is available in a number of languages.

    These cover:

    • a general guide to blood transfusion: Information for patients and families
    • a general guide to iron and iron deficiency: Information for patients, families and carers
    • information for children.

    SA Health’s BloodSafe program - blood transfusion factsheetExternal Link , available in 18 translations. There is also information for children.

    Australian Red Cross Lifeblood My TransfusionExternal Link has patient information on patient blood management and blood and blood product transfusion for adults and children.

    Eastern Health - neonatal/paediatric information sheet - 2014 (7.3) - the Eastern Health procedure for administration of blood and blood products for neonatal/paediatric patients.

    Australian Red Cross Lifeblood transfusion searchable factsheets and resourcesExternal Link (7.3) - the factsheets provide a basic level of information about blood products and blood management. Search for the relevant factsheet.

    Royal Children's Hospital - consent and patient informationExternal Link (7.3) - intended as a framework for clinicians; it provides an overview of consent, obtaining consent and information for patients and families.

    Blood Matters - core elements of informed consent for transfusion (7.3) - aimed at assisting health services to develop processes for informed consent for blood transfusion.

    Informed consent for blood transfusion template (7.3) - a template for obtaining informed consent for blood and blood product transfusion. It can be used as is or adapted for local requirements.

    Eastern Health - Jehovah’s Witness blood component and products information sheet 2018 (7.3) - aimed at providing guidance/general information related to the use of blood and blood products for patients who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Western Health - refusal/consent to blood, blood products and conservation (7.3) - the blood and blood product consent and refusal form developed at Western Health.

The examples provided may assist health services to develop their own resources to support this criterion. Some of the resources have been developed by Blood Matters, while others are documents used in health services.

Reviewed 12 December 2023


Contact details

Blood Matters Program Australian Red Cross Lifeblood

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