Responding to recent research findings, in 2018–2019 we introduced new steps into the donation process designed to improve donors’ overall experience — and, in particular, to reduce the likelihood of a vasovagal reaction, in which a donor feels light-headed or even faints. The new measures include:
- Providing donors with fluids (500 mL of water) and a salty snack (containing 450 mg of sodium) before they give blood.
- Encouraging donors to perform muscle tension exercises while in the donation chair.
- Applying a specially designed pressure bandage after donation to help prevent rebleeding.
Canadian Blood Services regularly reviews donor eligibility criteria and screening processes to be as minimally restrictive as possible while ensuring donors’ well-being and the safety of the blood supply. These new steps will save donors time during both screening and recovery, getting them quickly on their way and reducing overall wait-times in our donor centres.