The Health Collaborative (THC) team together with our new neighbors at 615 Elsinore rolled up their sleeves on Thursday to donate blood.
For the past seven years, THC has partnered with Hoxworth Blood Center to support and celebrate blood drive coordinators and donation centers of excellence at the annual Hoxworth Awards ceremony and most recently with the Inspire Healthcare Awards. This year, THC staff wanted to do more to promote the importance of regional blood donation. So, we organized our first onsite blood drive.
In just a few short hours on January 19, 2017, Hoxworth collected 24 units (including one platelet donor) from our building, which will potentially save up to 72 lives. Fifteen of these units were donated by THC staff.
Blood donation is critical toward maintaining an adequate blood supply for good patient care in hospital and trauma care settings. Red blood cells transport oxygen to the body’s tissues and are transfused to address a variety of issues, such as anemia resulting from kidney failure, chemotherapy regimens, gastrointestinal bleeding, or blood loss due to trauma or surgery.
According to the University of Cincinnati’s Hoxworth Blood Center, 300 blood donors and 25 platelet donors are needed every day to help save lives in the Greater Cincinnati region. In order to meet the demand of the 31 area hospitals it serves, Hoxworth works with donors of all blood types and walks of life to ensure an adequate blood and blood component supply.
Kate Haralson, Quality Improvement Manager at THC and staff coordinator of the drive, shared her thoughts on the significance of the drive: “At The Health Collaborative, we talk a lot about supporting community and promoting healthy behaviors. I think it’s important we walk the walk.”
Cara Nicholas, Assistant Public Information Officer at Hoxworth, said blood drives are particularly critical in the winter. “This time of year, we typically experience a decrease in blood donations,” she said. “January and other winter months are a challenging time for us, as adverse weather conditions, flu season, and busy post-holiday schedules can interfere with normal collection operations. The need for blood never stops—we still have to collect 300 units of red cells and 25 units of platelets a day to meet the demand of the 31 hospitals we serve in the tristate area. Donors can get busy with work, holidays, etc. but patients never get to ‘take a break’ from their illnesses, and we need to have blood on the shelf for them.”
There are several donation options available for donors to choose from: they can give whole blood, which is then taken to a lab for separation into red blood cells, plasma, or platelets; or they can opt for an automated procedure in which a machine separates the components at the point of donation and collects only what is desired. For example, in a platelet donation, the machine collects platelets while returning the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor. This can result in one or several transfusable units, while it takes about four to six whole blood donations to constitute a single transfusable unit of platelets.
Platelet transfusions (necessary for clotting) are an element of cancer and organ transplant treatments, and demand is growing. Many surgical procedures depend on platelets as they help prevent massive blood loss. Platelet donation takes a little longer than a whole blood donation, but uses a smaller needle.
One platelet donor, Kelly Aardema, Quality Improvement Coordinator, said her experience was positive. “I can’t think of an easier or more valuable act of service and I strongly encourage others to consider donating platelets, especially after learning that they must be used within five days of donation, so new donors are needed every day,” she said.
THC staff donated nourishing snacks and kept donors comfortable during their time in the chair. As Haralson remarked to staff, “This is such a huge gift to our community, giving of our time and ourselves, and contributes directly to our member hospitals and work with Hoxworth.” Plans are in the works to make the blood drive an annual event at THC.
Hoxworth’s Cara Nicholas said this is a particularly great time to get involved. “We rely on the generosity of our volunteer blood donors to provide area patients with lifesaving blood products. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and we’ve been asking all eligible donors to make a donation and help us maintain a stable blood supply during these winter months. We are extremely grateful for every single donor who takes the time to roll up their sleeve and save a life.”
For more information on how to become a donor or volunteer with Hoxworth, please visit www.hoxworth.org.