The need for available blood in the area continues to rise as donations have dropped, and the supply has reached even more critical levels.
ImpactLife is calling for urgent action to avoid a further shortage in the blood supply. Amanda Hess, Vice President of Donor and Public Relations for ImpactLife says the organization is grateful to be a partner in the community by supporting the 124 hospitals in their network.
Hess says ImapctLife is particularly challenged during the summer months as donations drop, however, this year the levels are falling faster than normal which could mean someone in need of blood or blood products may not have them readily available in their local hospital.
“We anticipated the last few weeks that it was going to get worse and it has. We are now at a one-day supply for Type O red blood cells and most other types are at just the two to three-day supply. We strive for a four to five-day supply on our shelves for red blood cells.
Platelets are actually needed daily. We collect platelet products from our machines and those come in and are tested and then are right back out the door to our hospitals, usually within 48 hours. So there is always an ongoing need for that.”
Hess says as we approach the 4th of July holiday the donations are continuing to drop, but the need remains constant. So ImpactLife has added an additional reward for those who take the time to give blood the week before the holiday weekend.
“This is probably going to be our most difficult week of the year. We normally like to see 3600 donations across our four-state region, and we’re only seeing maybe 2700 coming in per week right now. After several weeks of that, ever since Memorial Day, it has really put a strain on the blood supply.”
To help increase appointments next week, Hess says ImpactLife will give donors who go to Donor Centers a voucher for a $20 electronic gift card. Outside of this time frame and on all mobile blood drives, donors will still receive a voucher for a $10 e-gift card or 500 points to use in the ImpactLife Donor Rewards Store.
Hess says the number of donations drops each year at this time due in part to school blood drives ceasing for the summer months. She says though, this year other factors are adding to the lack of school drives, leading to this critical need.
“We have typically have been able to make up for some of those lost donations by people coming into our fixed donor center locations, and we’re just not seeing that this summer and it’s really causing a challenge. We are still being impacted by host groups who are not quite back to normal yet. Especially businesses who may not be fully on site so we don’t have as many corporate or business blood drives happening.
We also are still experiencing staffing shortages so we can’t do as many mobile blood drives out in the community as we did before. So there’s been several factors that have impacted us in terms of our mobile drive operations, but we’re just not making up for it with donations at our fixed donor center locations.”
Hess says ImpactLife is hoping people will answer the call to give knowing that there are daily and weekly appointment opportunities in the blood centers, as well as continued mobile blood drives around the area.
To schedule an appointment for donation, call (800) 747-5401 or schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org, or via the Blood Center’s mobile app www.bloodcenter.org/app.