socialhub health forum

health advice and discussions

RSS feeds


Blood Donations


Posts : 28
Join date : 2014-12-21
Age : 61
Location : West Sussex, England

Blood Donations Empty Blood Donations

Post by pkg1

For the first time in five years, I've been given the all-clear to attend blood donor sessions. I previously emailed the National Blood Service with my medical history and was told that despite suffering from incontinence and using a sheath catheter system, I would be accepable to donate blood. I therefore went along for my 46th blood donor session. Things have changed somewhat in the care of blood donors.  

I'll explain the process in the UK. Here in the UK blood donation is done entirely free - nobody is paid for their blood donation. Nevertheless some two million units of blood are collected in this way. In other countries the process may be different. However you should eat and drink plenty before arrival at the blood donor session and not be suffering from any infection.


You are welcomed at the door by a someone that notes your details. If you have previously made an appointment then you are expediated through the process to follow. You may have been sent an invitation to attend a blood donor session but if not just turn up at the door where you will be given a form to fill in with health and life style questions, all of which are confidential. You will be given some literature to read which explains what the screening process is for and what your blood donation might be used for.

Screening Process:-

Someone will call out your name and you are taken to a private area behind screens, where that person will go through your answers to the health and life style questions. You may be asked further details about the answers that you have given and it may be that a nurse may want to interview you further. If all is well, a finger is pricked and a tiny blood sample is taken to ensure that you have normal haemoglobin levels.  

Preparation for Giving Blood:-

You are then asked to sit and drink 500ml of water (or water diluted with orange or lemon squash), as this has been shown to considerably reduce incidences of fainting after giving blood. Yes, this has happened quite frequently in the past, even to me on one occasion. (Drinking water before a donation is a new idea).


This is probably the largest change for blood donor. No longer are you asked to lie down on flat on a wobbly collapsible bed, instaed you are asked to sit in a donor chair made out of plastic. It is very comfortable and has soft padding for your head and ankles. The aim is to make the donor as comfortable as possible and it really works!

Somebody then places a blood pressure cuff of you arm and inflates it. This is not to measure blood pressure but to help expose suitable veins in your arms from which blood may be taken. One the area is selected a sterilising sponge is rubbed over the areas to kill of any surface germs before the blood donation needle is inserted. Just before a bllod donation needle is inserted, the blood donor's chair is placed at a reclined position so that your bottom is in the lowest part of the chair.

Once the blood donation has been started somebody will fill up some small test tubes that allow them to test your blood for any abnormalities and of course your bllod group. After that the wquipment stops the process once 470 ml of blood has been donated into the blood collecting bag. I think it does this by measuring the weight.

Someone will remove the needle from your arm and you will be asked to apply pressure on the donation site through a dressing using three fingers and your thumb. After a short period of time, about 2 minutes) the donor site is inspected and if all is well a dressing will be applied. During this time the blood donor chair is moved in stages from the reclined position to the upright position. However should you show signs of fainting it can also be moved from the reclined position to an almost lying position to that your head and torso are at the lowest point, and your legs are at the highest point on the chair. When the peson looking after you and you yourself ase happy to stand up, you will be asked to slide off the donor chair and walk towards the refreshment table.

Donor Care After Donation:-

If you are a first time donor or one that hasn't been donating recently, you will be given a red card. This means that you will not be given a hot drink such as tea or coffee, but instead offered a cold drink. You can also eat a snack such a packet of crisps or biscuits, all of which is free. You should remain in this area for at least 15 minutes before leaving the session.

I would urge that if you can give blood, that you do so. Many people today would not be alive were it not for blood donors, including my uncle who requires frequent blood transfusions in order to stay alive.


Share this post on: diggdeliciousredditstumbleuponslashdotyahoogooglelive


Post on Tue May 19, 2015 1:14 pm by Aki

I have been thinking about doing this for a while now and while I am okay to go ahead and donate per my doctor I am still a little nervous. Is this pretty common?

    Current date/time is Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:37 am