More than one-quarter of blood transfusions in one institution lacked documentation of informed consent

According to a university study, more than one-quarter of their blood transfusions lacked documentation of informed consent (IC). But after educational initiatives focusing on common causes of non-compliance, transfusion IC rates corrected to nearly 100%. The study was presented at ASCP, held in September in Chicago.

An initial retrospective chart review was performed for all patients transfused over a six-month period.The researchers collected data on location of transfusion, product(s) infused, presence/absence of a complete IC form in the medical record, and if no form was found, the reason for lack of IC.

According to the researchers,their initial review found that 26.1% (339/1297) of transfusions lacked documentation of IC; red blood cells (RBCs) were most commonly associated with non-compliance (218/339; 64.3%). When an explanation for lack of IC was found,the most frequent reason was that the patient was unable to provide consent (48.0% of cases), followed by incorrectly-completed forms (36.0% of cases). The surgical (92/339; 27.1%) and medical (84/339; 24.8%) intensive care units demonstrated highest rates of non-compliance.

Subsequently, a second three-month retrospective chart review was performed to assess the effects of educational efforts on IC compliance. The researchers noted that, following their educational campaign, only 3% (12/391) of transfusions lacked documentation of IC; again, RBCs were most frequently associated with non-compliance.