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A nurse-led home blood transfusion service was associated with low rates of both individual and system adverse events, a new study undertaken by the University of South Australia, the Royal District Nursing Service and SA Health has found.

Researchers say the findings confirm that regular blood transfusions can be safely performed for medically stable patients with a chronic health condition in residential homes and aged care facilities.

The joint study investigated 1,790 blood transfusions involving 533 patients in South Australian homes and aged care facilities over a 15-year-period.

Key findings included the system used to deliver blood products to the patients being efficient and safe; less than 1% of adverse reactions, with reactions not serious and able to be managed by a registered nurse; and the gender and age of the patient and their setting not proving a barrier to receiving a blood transfusion at home, nor influencing the risk of an adverse reaction.

Researchers say the findings highlight the growing trend of healthcare being delivered at home. Further investigation is needed to explore the perception of those using the service and supports required to improve the experience.

“Hospitals can be alienating and strange places for older people, especially those who have dementia,” UniSA lead researcher Dr Rebecca Sharp said.

“It is better for eligible patients if a trained nurse can go to their home and perform the blood transfusion, following strict procedures.