Written materials are commonly used for blood donor education. While pre-donation materials are largely standardized across US blood collectors, the post-donation instruction sheet (PDIS) is variable and few have been evaluated to assess their effectiveness in conveying information as reflected by donors’ attention, understanding and recall.
An online survey was sent to two independent randomly selected samples of repeat donors, before and after implementation of the enhanced PDIS.
A total of 12 935 blood donors responded (33·4% response rate). Most donors did not read the entire PDIS – 34·3% less than half and 18·1% none. Of the 10 593 donors who reported reading any of the PDIS, 97·8% recalled instructions about immediate post-donation care (e.g. extra fluids/no exercise) and 88·0% to call with questions/problems. However, only 50·1% remembered reading about what to do if you felt dizzy/faint and 32·4% about care for bruises. Recall rates in every area were similar before and after revision; except after revision, more donors remembered seeing information about maintaining iron and fewer that you should call the centre back with additional health information (P < 0·0001).
Blood collectors rely heavily on written materials to convey instructions to donors. Most repeat donors do not read the entire PDIS, and many do not recall important information. More donors recalled seeing how to maintain iron with the enhanced PDIS, but recall deficits remained on how to care for adverse reactions. Written materials alone appear to be insufficient to educate some donors about new or updated topics.

© 2020 International Society of Blood Transfusion.