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Donor health and wellbeing

Our Donor health and wellbeing researchers examine how to improve the donation experience and keep our donors happy and healthy.

Research leaders

Dr Tanya Davison
Dr Barbara Bell
Dr Stephen Wright

Current projects

Feeling great when you donate
How do staff tell if a donor may be about to faint, what is the best thing to do to prevent fainting in a donor centre, and how are donors best cared for when they faint? This study will test a number of new procedures to care for donors before, during and after a fainting episode. Read more

Long term health outcomes in blood donors
The 45-and-up study in NSW contains health and lifestyle data from 250 000 people in NSW over the age of 45. By examining blood donor data collected in this study, we will examine links between donation behaviour, health, and blood product quality.

Straight into plasma
The demand for life-saving products made from plasma is increasing, which means we need more plasma donations. We are looking for new ways to ensure the sustainability of Australia’s plasma supply into the future. Currently, new donors need to give at least one successful whole blood donation before giving a plasma donation. This study will assess the feasibility of allowing new donors over 30 to give plasma the first time they donate.

Do away with the finger prick
Before each blood donation, we use a small finger prick test to check the amount of haemoglobin (an important oxygen carrier) in a donor’s blood. New technologies may allow us to test haemoglobin levels without the uncomfortable finger prick. To make sure we keep donors safe, we need to make sure these technologies can give us the correct answer every time before we introduce them.

More comfortable donation
One of the main causes of anxiety leading up to blood donation is fear of pain during the donation procedure. A non-invasive pain numbing device, known as “Coolsense”, is designed to minimise pain at the site of injections, and has already been used successfully in diabetic and paediatric imaging. The Blood Service will conduct a trial to find out if Coolsense can help us take away the stress and make blood donation more comfortable.
 

Selected recent publications

Chell K, Waller D, Masser B (2016) The Blood Donor Anxiety Scale: a six-item state anxiety measure based on the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Transfusion 56(6 Pt 2):1645-53 doi:10.1111/trf.13520

Thijsen A, King A, Waller D (2016) Lost in translation: Knowledge, attitudes and practices in donors experiencing a vasovagal reaction. Transfusion and apheresis science : official journal of the World Apheresis Association : official journal of the European Society for Haemapheresis 54(3):384-9 doi:10.1016/j.transci.2015.11.016

Waller D, Mondy P, Brama T, et al. (2016) Determining the effect of vein visualization technology on donation success, vasovagal symptoms, anxiety and intention to re-donate in whole blood donors aged 18-30 years: A randomized controlled trial. Vox Sang 111(2):135-43 doi:10.1111/vox.12407

Waller D, Thijsen A, Garradd A, Hayman J, Smith G (2015) Donating blood for research: a potential method for enhancing customer satisfaction of permanently deferred blood donors. Blood transfusion = Trasfusione del sangue:1-7 doi:10.2450/2015.0142-15