To our best knowledge, this was the first local study which described the satisfaction and experience of blood donors in the blood center within a public tertiary hospital and mobile sites in Malaysia. Generally, the donors reported high satisfaction towards the blood bank staff and had pleasant experience during the blood donation process. All the donors had high intention to donate blood again in the future. The study outcomes informed the gap of donors’ care and may serve as a guide for the policymakers on areas of focus to improve services related to blood donors’ satisfaction.
In this study, the respondents elicited good satisfaction towards the reception services provided by the blood bank. A recent study in Brazil reported low satisfaction towards the reception service provided by the staff, which was also perceived as highly important by the donors. (15). Meanwhile, friendliness and availability of the blood bank staff were also rated highly by our respondents. The professionalism and attitude of the blood bank personnel had significant impact on blood donors’ satisfaction level (7,13). In Malaysia, all healthcare personnel were required to provide a fair, professional and friendly services towards their clients, in accordance to the Ministry of Health Clients Charter. To improve service quality, educational programs infused with donor-specific feedback may instill deeper understanding among the front-line blood bank personnel on donors’ satisfaction (17).
The respondents demonstrated high satisfaction towards the phlebotomists’ blood taking and interpersonal skills, where 97% of the respondents agreed that the donation process was smooth and painless. This was also reflected in the donors’ experience, as there was no prominent difference in perceived health status before and after blood donation. The competence and blood taking skills of the phlebotomist was found to be highly associated with the donor’s satisfaction and experience (7,13). Additionally, good phlebotomist interpersonal skills may reduce the events of vasovagal reactions among blood donors (11). Apart from adhering to the phlebotomy practices guidelines (18), regular training of the blood bank phlebotomy staff in educational intervention programs may enhance standardization and improve quality of phlebotomy practices (19).
In contrast with other developed countries, the Malaysian blood donors were not remunerated with special incentives such as travelling compensation, time-off, monetary rewards or tax rebate (20). Nevertheless, all the blood donors who completed donation were given light refreshment, in accordance to the WHO Safe Blood Donation Guidelines (21). This study revealed that a minority of the blood donors had low satisfaction towards the refreshment provided by the blood bank. This might be attributed to the limited options of snack and drinks in the local blood donation sites. Snack offered after blood donation may not improve overall satisfaction but may lead to dissatisfaction if the expectation was not met (15). Hence, provision of more refreshment varieties may serve as a possible way to ensure blood donors’ satisfaction (22).
Meanwhile, the satisfaction of blood donors towards the parking spaces at the blood center within the hospital was also assessed. Accessibility of the blood center was considered as one of the components which may affect long-term satisfaction among the blood donors (15,23). Similarly, a study in Brazil found that blood donors were concerned regarding availability of car park when asked about what might influence their satisfaction (16). While requesting more car parks slots from the blood donors can serve as a short-term relief, the need may not be sustained as the vehicle possession per resident ratio was constantly increasing (24). Although organization of mobile blood drives at venues with large parking bays may alleviate the problem, this may not be practiced during a pandemic outbreak when movement control order was enforced. The feasibility of alternative strategies such as provision of two-way shuttle transport for the blood donors, provision of special reimbursement or discount for using public transport and drive-through blood donation services should be explored to assess its efficacy, safety, impact on blood donors’ satisfaction and their intention to donate (25,26)
This study had several limitations. We found that majority of the respondents had high overall satisfaction towards the blood donation process and high intention to donate blood again in the future. This was in congruence to previous studies which reported similar association (14,27). While donors’ intention to return was a reliable predictor of actual return (14,28), it was arguably a surrogate marker as the actual return behaviors were not studied (10). Also, although the survey was anonymous in nature, it was highly susceptible to acquiescence bias, as the respondents may have the tendency to please the blood bank personnel who they handed the survey form to upon completion. Employment of electronic data collection forms in future studies may reduce the bias and provide a more truthful depiction of the donors’ satisfaction. A single-center design may also limit the generalizability of the findings to blood centers in other localities.