Research

UQ research targets over-50s for blood donation participation

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Researchers from the University of Queensland are teaming up with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to encourage blood donations among individuals aged over 50.

Led by Project lead Professor Barbara Masser from UQ’s School of Psychology, the research aims to recruit and retain older blood and plasma donors.

The primary focus of the project is to comprehend the factors influencing individuals aged over 50 to donate blood and how their participation can be effectively managed to sustain their health, well-being, and social connections. Professor Masser stated, “Our research will identify motivations and barriers to donating blood, gathering perspectives from regular donors, non-donors, and Australian Red Cross Lifeblood staff.”

The objective is to understand if there are any misconceptions surrounding blood donation once individuals reach the age of 50. By gaining insights into these factors, the researchers plan to develop tailored resources aimed at encouraging greater participation in blood donation within this age group.

According to United Nations data, it is estimated that by 2050, approximately 40% of Australia’s population will be aged over 50. Professor Masser highlighted that while older Australians are generally healthy by international standards, the ageing population will increase the demand for blood-product treatments, potentially leading to shortages nationwide.

“People over 50 are the ideal target market to engage, as they are known to donate more regularly and have fewer adverse events than younger donors. More than 75% of over 50s donating blood return for a second donation,”  Professor Masser emphasised.

The research also addresses the historical focus on recruiting young donors, indicating untapped potential and missed opportunities for establishing a regular blood donor base within the older age bracket. Donating blood has been associated with improved social connections, feelings of validation and more positive self-perceptions of ageing.

This collaborative research initiative is made possible through a partnership with the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood and has received funding from the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects grant scheme.

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