Donor health

Recent studies

Providing donors with a personalised information experience

Blood donors have different motivations for donating blood and, therefore, different information needs. Some would prefer to hear about the ultimate recipient of their donation, while others may be interested in what goes on behind the scenes at the processing centre. This research study will explore different donor ‘archetypes’, develop video content for each type, and examine how viewing the videos affects donor behaviour.

Helping donors make informed choices

The Lifeblood is experiencing an increase in demand for plasma and plasma products. This project will develop and test written materials to present balanced information about plasma donation for donors who may convert from blood to plasma.

Bringing back lapsed donors

Some people donate blood regularly, and then stop suddenly for some reason (such as moving or having children). Previous studies at the Lifeblood have shown that it is easier to motivate these donors to start donating again than to recruit new donors. In particular, female donors who gave three to four times per year and then stopped for 24-36 months are more likely to recommence donating regularly when asked than people who have never donated before. This study will develop and test communication strategies for this particular target group.

What’s the best thing to do with fainting donors?

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.

What’s the difference between donors and non-donors?

This ‘45-and-up’ study will examine health and lifestyle data from 250,000 people in NSW over the age of 45. Links between donation behaviour, health, and blood product quality will be examined.

Targeting retention of first time donors

Worldwide, half of first-time blood donors never return. Why do they decide not to come back? This project explores how the first experience of donating blood shapes donor attitudes and the results will assist the Lifeblood to manage the expectations of new donors. Increasing the proportion of first-time donors who continue donating will ensure a sustainable blood supply for the future.

Increasing blood donor diversity

The frequency of blood types varies between populations of different ethnicities. Therefore, to enable us to provide appropriate blood products for everyone, the ethnic diversity of our donor population should match the diversity of the Australian population. This project aims to enhance blood donation among migrant groups in the Australian community, working with the African migrant community as an example.

PRIDE: motivating and maintaining donation

What motivates you? Pride or challenge? Understanding donors is important for recruiting new donors and maintaining the blood supply. This study uses measures of heart rate and changes in skin conductivity to measure the emotional response of donors to a series of blood donation images. The results will be used to ensure that our messages to both potential and returning donors are effective.

What would you like me to donate today?

Meeting the needs of patients depends on having the right blood product at the right time. However, most donors consider themselves to be exclusively ‘blood’, ‘plasma’ or ‘platelet’ donors. This study will explore ways to build flexibility into our donor panel to ensure the Lifeblood can always collect enough of the products needed.

Selected Publications

Lucky TT, Seed CR, Waller D, Lee JF, McDonald A, Wand H, Wroth S, Shuttleworth G, Keller AJ, Pink J et al: Understanding noncompliance with selective donor deferral criteria for high-risk behaviors in Australian blood donors. Transfusion 2014, 54(7):1739-1749

Masser BM, Smith G, Williams L: Donor Research in Australia-Challenges and Promise. Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy 2014, 41:296-301.

Seed CR, Lucky TT, Waller D, Wand H, Lee JF, Wroth S, McDonald A, Pink J, Wilson DP, Keller AJ: Compliance with the current 12-month deferral for male-to-male sex in Australia. Vox Sang 2014, 106(1):14-22.

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