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Patient Education Manual
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Why Blood Conservation?
Blood transfusions have been an accepted medical treatment for many years. However, today, healthcare professionals are learning that there can be risks that go along with it. As a blood conservation hospital, McLaren is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical care that may reduce or eliminate your chances of receiving blood. The hospital wide program is supported by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff working together. By using special equipment and methods to reduce blood loss and help your body make more of its own blood, hospitals are finding that patients may recover faster, heal more quickly, have less risk of infection and go home sooner than those who receive blood transfusions. McLaren has a dedicated Blood Conservation program coordinator who will work with you, members of your family, and your doctors to answer any questions you might have about Blood Conservation. Throughout your stay, we will ensure you receive the best care possible, while respecting your personal and / or religious beliefs.
What are the Methods Used in the Blood Conservation Program?
There are many methods used in Blood Conservation. Depending on your surgery or medical condition some of these methods may or may not be right for you. We encourage you to ask your doctor about Blood Conservation and ask if any of these methods are right for you. Methods that can be used: • Diet Eating a well balanced diet rich in iron. All meals should also contain foods with Vitamin C to improve the absorption of iron. • Using less blood for lab tests • Medicines that encourage your body to make its own red blood cells Synthetic Erythropoietin – this is a medicine prescribed by your doctor to help your body make more of your own red blood cells. If you qualify, your doctor can prescribe injections once a week 3 to 4 weeks before your scheduled surgery. Iron and Supplements – Iron supplements can boost your own blood supply before your surgery. Your doctor may prescribe iron tablets or IV iron. Other supplements may include Vitamin C, Folic Acid and/or an injection of Vitamin B-12. • Cell Saver Is a system that collects and filters any blood you may lose during your surgery. At the end of surgery the filtered blood is then returned back to you. • Platelet Gel A substance made from your own blood during surgery and applied to your surgical site. This helps to lessen blood loss during surgery and helps your bones and tissues heal faster. • Surgical devices Special scalpels and other instruments your surgeon may use to lessen blood loss during surgery. • ANH (Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution) On the day of surgery 1 to 3 units of your blood are taken from you and replaced with IV fluids. Your blood is then given back to you during or after your surgery to replace any blood lost during the operation.
Should I donate my own blood ahead of time?
Donating your own blood ahead of time to get back after your surgery is called autologous blood donation. This has been a popular method to reduce the risks of receiving another person’s blood if blood is needed. This option should be discussed with your doctor to see if it is right for you. Studies have now found that this method may not be as effective as once thought. Stored blood, even your own blood, loses its ability to carry oxygen to your body each day it stays in the blood bank. Also you may not have enough time to fully recover after the donation to make enough of your own red cells before your surgery. The use of blood conservation methods at this time has proven to be very effective
How do I participate in the Blood Conservation Program?
All patients admitted to McLaren Regional Medical Center will be a part of this beneficial program. Some of the Blood Conservation methods may or may not be right for you. Your doctor will determine the best methods based on your needs. At no time will your participation in this program limit your right to treatment as prescribed by your doctor. Blood transfusions will be given as necessary, with your consent. If you are a Jehovah Witness or for any reason wish to be a NO BLOOD patient, please notify your doctor in the office and tell the hospital immediately at registration. A no blood patient means that you will not accept any blood or blood products, even in a life threatening situation. As a NO BLOOD patient, a bracelet will be placed on your wrist when you are admitted to the hospital. This will let all your health care workers know you do not wish to receive blood even if life threatening. Please remember to give a copy of your Advance Directive to your doctor in the office and the hospital on admission. You may be contacted by the Blood Conservation Coordinator once admitted to the hospital.
What if I need a Blood Transfusion?
If a blood transfusion is needed it will be given with your consent. A transfusion is when blood or blood components are given into a vein to replace blood that is lost during surgery or a serious injury. A transfusion may also be given if your body can’t make blood properly because of an illness. The most common kind of transfusion is red blood cells.
What are the Risks of a Transfusion?
The blood used at McLaren comes from the American Red Cross where every donor and unit of blood / blood product is screened in detail. Every effort is made to make the blood supply as safe as possible; however, mild problems and very rarely, serious problems, including death can occur. The blood is tested for different diseases; therefore the risk of getting a disease from a transfusion has greatly decreased. Even with all this testing, an infection can occur from a rare or new organism. Bacterial infection is another possible risk but careful procedures are done when blood is collected to minimize this risk. Human error, when the wrong blood is given, can cause serious problems. Another possible risk is an allergic reaction to the blood during transfusion. The symptoms of the reactions include: • • • • • • • Itching, hives, rash • Nausea Anxiety • Dizziness Chest and/or back pain • Rapid heartbeat Trouble breathing • Headache Yellow skin color Blood in urine or reduced amount of urine Fever, chills, flushing, and clammy skin
What are the Benefits of Blood Transfusions?
Blood can save lives. It can help you recover from a serious illness, surgery or injury.
What are the Alternatives to a Transfusion?
Alternatives to blood transfusion are continually being developed and used whenever possible. Many of the alternatives are discussed in this brochure. Discuss with your doctor what methods are right for you. You have the right to refuse a blood transfusion but this decision could cause serious problems and should be discussed with your doctor. A blood transfusion is only given to you when the benefits are greater than the risks. You are encouraged to ask questions about your treatment at any time throughout your care.
Blood Conservation Program McLaren Regional Medical Center 401 South Ballenger Highway, Flint, Michigan 48532 (810) 342-4746