RESEARCH – March 2015

How to ensure evolvement of first time blood donors into regular donors: a questionnaire study among the Blood Centre donors of the North Estonia Medical Centre

Authors: Karin Pungas, Regina Kaasik, Riin Kullaste, Piret Veerus, Riin Ehin

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Background and aims. In order to ensure the existence of safe and adequate blood supply, blood establishments should implement recruitment and retention of voluntary, nonremunerated blood donors. It is recognized that regular donors’ (RD) blood is safer than first time donors` (FTD) blood, because RD are more aware of their health and their risk behaviour tends to be lower. As blood donation is non-remunerated and voluntary in Estonia, it is essential to investigate the factors that motivate individuals to donate blood. Special care should be taken with FTDs to maintain their positive orientation toward donating blood in the future.

Methods. Qualitative (multiple choice questions and scaled evaluations based on a questionnaire) and quantitative (open answers in the questionnaire) approaches were used to study first time donors.

Results and conclusions. The study shows that more than half of lapsed FTDs are young people (age 18-29 years) who have passed their first blood donation in a mobiile session. Also Russian speaking donors are a minority group: only 8% of all 2010 FTD preferred the Russian language in communication.

Blood donors are satisf ied with BC services (staff attitudes and techniques). Donors who have had pleasant donation experience and feel generally good after donation are more likely to come back. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain/improve BC services for sustainable and successful retention of blood donors. To avoid anxiety among inexperienced blood donors, more support from nurses is needed before and during donation to ensure pleasant donation experience. It is essential to monitor and encourage FTD since donors who donate more frequently in the first 12 months are more likely to return in the future.

The FTD were asked to explain the reason why they had decided to cease donations. In response most of them (73.3%) stated that they had not yet given up their donor career.

The FTD would like to receive an invitation/ reminder letter before the next blood donation. For contact, donors preferred e-mail and SMS. To ensure that all FTD receive a reminder in the future, an EVI software was developed. This is an automated service that sends out a reminder letter considering FTD donation time (two or three months after the first donation).