ImpactLife is joining blood providers across the country in reporting critically low blood inventory levels and is now appealing to all current and potential donors to schedule donations in support of our region’s blood supply.
To help increase appointments in the week before Fourth of July, ImpactLife will give donors who come to ImpactLife Donor Centers a voucher to redeem for a $20 electronic gift card Monday, June 27 through Monday, July 4, according to a Thursday release. (Outside of this time frame and on all mobile blood drives, donors will receive a voucher for a $10 e-gift card or 500 points to use in the ImpactLife Donor Rewards Store.)
“The week ahead may well be the most challenging week of the year for our region’s blood supply,” Amanda Hess, ImpactLife’s Vice President, Donor and Public Relations, said in the release. “We have seen low donation rates since Memorial Day and Fourth of July is just ahead. Now is time to donate and make sure blood is ‘on the shelves’ at our local hospitals, ready to transfuse at a moment’s notice.”
To provide optimally for the 124 hospitals the blood center serves, ImpactLife aims to maintain a five-day supply of all blood components. But with the donation rate consistently low for several weeks in a row, type O (positive and negative) red blood cells are at just a one-day supply. Other blood types have consistently been at a 2- to 3-day supply since the beginning of June.
Blood and platelet donations are used to support ongoing, routine use at local hospitals while a reserve is needed in case of a spike in demand due to large scale emergency or mass trauma. Hess notes that such events may require activation of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (www.bloodcenter.org/BERC), a national group of blood providers that ImpactLife joined earlier this year, pledging mutual aid across the U.S. in times of crisis.
“When it comes to disaster response, the donations made before a crisis always make the greatest difference,” Hess said.
She cited several factors that have negatively influenced our region’s blood supply, namely a decrease in the number and frequency of mobile blood drives, staffing issues leading to scheduling challenges, and fluctuating rates of illness within the blood center’s service region.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile blood drives accounted for about 60% of the blood center’s donations.
But with blood drive cancellations that began in 2020, fewer donors have had the opportunity to give blood at mobile events. While some donors have shifted donation patterns from mobile blood drives to Donor Centers, the fixed site locations have not been able to entirely make up for the shortfall in donations.
For more information, visit the ImpactLife website.