How to Administer a Blood Transfusion

Updated: May 20

Before you administer a blood transfusion take a quick look at The Basics of Blood Transfusions

If you already have, then great let’s get started! You’ll notice that attaching a Blood Transfusion is very similar to attaching a normal IV bag but with extra caution.


Step 1: Preparation:

  1. Confirm the blood order with the physician and a written note in the file

  2. Ensure that the patient has had a blood test that checks the blood type and its compatibility (aka. Type and screen or X-match)

  3. Order the blood products (Most hospitals have an online form or a written form where you enter the patient’s details and the type and amount of blood products needed)

  4. Inform the patient and answer any queries

  5. Check the patient’s parameters to have a baseline value (this will come in handy when checking for any reaction to the blood product)


Step 2: Checking the blood products

Once you have the blood products, grab your nurse buddy and ask her to help you verify the units that you have. The checking is done with two nurse and in front of the patient to decrease the chances of giving the wrong blood products to your patient.

So, look out for:

  1. The patient’s name and ID (ask the patient, check bracelet, check the blood transfusion bag and the blood bank papers)

  2. Serial number

  3. Blood component and type

  4. Expiry date

  5. Volume

  6. Screening tests


Step 3: Administration

Once you have ensured that you have the right blood products for your patient and that they are at room temperature, you can now move on to attach the IV line.


Note: You should use a blood transfusion IV line. This line has a wide gauge and a filter to prevent administering any clots and particles.


Recheck the patient’s parameters after 15mins, lookout for any signs of an allergic reaction such as shivering, sweats, rash, decrease in respiration or fever.


If your patient shows any signs of an allergic reaction, stop the transfusion and inform a senior nurse or physician immediately. However, if everything seems fine, then you can continue the administration as a reaction is likely to occur in the first 15minutes.


Step 4: Document

Just like every other thing that you do during your day at work, you MUST document the blood transfusion. Make a note on it on the nursing report, and fill out any paperwork that your hospital might have regarding to blood transfusions.


And that’s it! Pretty simple.


So, to recap:
  1. Confirm prescription and order the blood

  2. Talk to your patient and take baseline parameters

  3. Confirm the blood product with another nurse

  4. Use the aseptic technique to attach the blood transfusion

  5. Monitor the patient and document.

Did you find these steps helpful? Make sure to checkout the rest of our Nursing Guides!

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