Plasma donation is an incredible process that is responsible for the creation of several life-altering therapies. Millions of people around the world donate plasma every year, and the highly controlled, clinical environments where plasma donations take place are required to abide by strict regulatory requirements to keep donors safe. That being said, there are new safety concerns that have arisen for plasma donors since the arrival of COVID-19.
At Canadian Plasma Resources, we’ve continually revised our precautionary measures to reflect the current status of COVID-19. Without further ado, here’s how we’ve altered the plasma donation process at our centres to keep donors safe during this unprecedented time.
Step 1: Registering
The registration portion of the donation process is where we confirm the eligibility of new donors and perform preliminary health checks. For first-time plasma donors, the registration process typically takes 25 minutes, and during this time they:
· Present valid identification
· Complete a questionnaire
· Review educational material
· Review the consent form
· Undergo preliminary blood pressure and temperature checks
This process gets easier and faster for return donors, who usually only spend 10 minutes in registration. To minimize contact between donors and staff and ensure safe physical distancing, we’ve put plexiglass barriers at our reception desks and asked donors not to enter our centres more than five minutes before their appointment time. We’ve also increased the frequency with which we clean donor folders and our staff now wear gloves at all times.
Step 2: Screening
To ensure donors are in good health and eligible to give plasma, all of our donors undergo a screening prior to donating. Similarly to the registration process, first-time donors spend approximately 25 minutes being screened while return donors spend roughly 10 minutes being screened. Donors undergo a physical examination, review registration information with a medical professional, participate in a question and answer session, and confirm consent when being screened.
All of our screening staff are required to wear masks during this stage of the plasma donation process. They also diligently clean all of the equipment in our screening rooms after every screening.
Step 3: Donating
Once a donor has been given the green light to donate, they are escorted to a donor bed, prepped for donation, and connected to an apheresis machine. All of the beds in our donation halls are spread apart so that donors can safely give plasma six feet away from one another. During the venipuncture procedure, where staff access a donor’s vein in order to subsequently extract plasma via plasmapheresis, donors are asked to breathe away from staff members to avoid close contact. We’ve also asked our donors to refrain from walking around, speaking with other donors, and talking on their phones when they are in our donation halls.
Donors are continuously monitored by staff during plasmapheresis to ensure everything is going smoothly. When they are finished with plasmapheresis, which usually takes 50 minutes to complete, the beds and apheresis machines that were used are thoroughly cleaned.
Step 4: Relaxing
The last part of the plasma donation process involves relaxing, enjoying snacks and refreshments in our waiting rooms, and scheduling your next appointment. To minimize contact, we’ve moved all snacks behind our reception desks. Donors now have to ask reception staff for snacks and refreshments.
All seating in our waiting rooms has been set up for physical distancing. We’ve added signage to split up our waiting rooms and minimize the amount of cross traffic. One side is now designated for donors who have just been registered while the other side is for donors who have just finished donating or are waiting to donate.
Keeping our donors and staff safe has always been our top priority at Canadian Plasma Resources, and we will continue to do everything in our power to make everyone feel comfortable. Giving plasma is more important now than ever before, and together we can help provide vulnerable patients with the treatments they need. Book your next appointment today!