Your Questions Answered

What happens when there is a Blood Bank system downtime? Will patients still get their blood products?

Firstly, yes, patients will get their blood products during an unforeseen Blood Bank system downtime.

During the downtime, the Blood Bank will not be able to access patient transfusion histories electronically. They will need to perform the ABO and Rh blood type, antibody screen and serological crossmatch for every blood request. Ward staff will thus need to send a new patient specimen and crossmatch laboratory request form for every blood request, which includes requests for plasma products, platelet products and neonates.

The Blood Bank will neither be able to print labels for individual blood products crossmatched for patients nor print issue documents, and will need to handwrite these. Ward staff should thus expect to receive handwritten labels and issue documents during the downtime. Staff should please be extra vigilant when they administer blood products under such circumstances to ensure that the right blood product is administered to the right patient at the right time. As always, the pre-transfusion bedside checks must be performed (preferably read aloud) by at least 2 healthcare professionals.

In the event of any uncertainty, do not transfuse the blood and contact Blood Bank immediately for assistance.

In the event of an unforeseen telephony downtime, the Blood Banks and Hayley Alie, Hospital Liaison Officer, will contact hospitals/healthcare facilities with alternative Blood Bank contact numbers to use during this period.

Processes will revert to normal when the system is restored. The patient specimen and blood ordering request form will be viable in the Blood Bank for 48 hours. For patients who receive only plasma products, the Blood Bank will need a new specimen on a 6-monthly basis; although the request form will be viable for 48 hours. For neonates, a specimen will be viable in Blood Bank for the first 4 months from birth; while the blood request form will be viable for 48 hours.

For more information, contact your nearest Blood Bank.


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