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Informed Consent to Transfusion

Transfusion Medicine, Laboratory Services

Introduction

This is a framework, addressing the process of informed consent required prior to administration of blood components and plasma protein products in non emergent settings.

Express written consent shall be obtained for the transfusion of blood components and blood products (also referred to as plasma protien products).

Purpose

The purpose of this framework is to provide a guideline to clinicians prescribing blood components and plasma protein products for all Patients in Alberta.  The Alberta Health Services consent policy and procedures can be found here.  New Consent Forms are currently available on the internal AHS intranet site:  Insite.

Physicians are asked to order the new Consent Forms using current processes.

Forms can be ordered online from Data Group Data Document Manager

Definition of Terms

Examples of blood components include:

  • Red Blood Cells
  • Platelets
  • Fresh Frozen Plasma
  • Cryoprecipitate

Examples of blood products or plasma protein products include:

  • Albumin
  • Coagulation factors
  • Immunoglobulins

For a complete list of blood components and plasma protein products click here.

Definitions for Patient and Most Responsible Health Practitioner can be found in the Consent to Treatment Policy.

Standards and Legislation

The administration of blood components and plasma protein products is governed by the standards and recommendations published by Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine (CSTM), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), College of American Pathologists (CAP) and AABB.

Legislation in Alberta’s Adult Guardian and Trusteeship Act (AGTA) provides decision-making options for health care providers, physicians, patients and their families to use to ensure that consent for health care is obtained from the appropriate decision-maker(s). For further details around what the AGTA is, please visit the Office of the Public Guardian. The AGTA is administered by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Informed Consent

The process of Informed Consent consists of a discussion between the Patient and Most Responsible Health Practitioner prior to a transfusion being administered to a Patient.  The conversation consists of the following:

  • Indications and benefits
  • Risks of transfusion
  • Risks of not having a transfusion
  • Alternative treatments to transfusion

The conversation must allow the Patient to ask any questions about the procedure, risks, and alternatives.  This conversation must be documented on the consent form.  Consent Forms are currently available on the internal AHS intranet website: Insite.

Physicians are asked to order the new Consent Forms using current processes.

Duration of Consent

A new Consent Form shall be completed, or changes made to the original form and initialled by the Patient and the Most Responsible Health Practitioner (and witnessed), when one or more of the following occurs:

  • The Patient’s condition has materially changed;
  • The medical knowledge about the Patient’s condition or the Treatment available has materially changed; or
  • There has been a refusal to a portion of the Treatment or procedure originally planned or a refusal regarding the involvement of particular individuals in the treatment or procedure (i.e. medical trainees).

The Most Responsible Health Practitioner is responsible for confirming the validity of consent prior to the delivery of the Treatment/Procedure(s).

Clinician Tools

The following information will help to answer questions for adults, children and infants that relate to the transfusion of blood and blood products.

Consent to Transfusion FAQs can be found here.

Additional resources for clinicians can be found here.