The Transfusion Services department at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) was recently praised at a site visit from the Canadian Blood Services and the Ontario Blood Coordinating Network for rating among the best performers in adopting best practices, judicious use of blood products, excellent inventory management and low waste.
Supporting the needs of over 2,500 patients a year, this section of the laboratory – often referred to as the blood lab – is an extremely important service that performs blood grouping, antibody testing, and ensures product compatibility in support of oncology, surgery, trauma, medical and obstectric patient needs.
The outstanding performance of TBRHSC’s Transfusion Services department is particularly impressive when you take into account the challenges that result from TBRHSC being geographically isolated in Northernwestern Ontario.
“One of the core challenges facing Transfusion Services here in the north is the distance from the nearest Canadian Blood Services (CBS),” explains Janet Sharun, Coordinator of Transfusion Medicine, TBRHSC. “CBS Winnipeg is the distributing center for Northwestern Ontario and the distance can make it difficult to ensure availability without unnecessary waste when lifespan of different blood products vary from five days to one year. Thankfully, we have 22 dedicated and diligent medical laboratory technologists who work in our department who ensure the availability of these lifesaving blood products for the patients who need them.”
The demand for Transfusion Services – already a very busy section of the lab – is expected to grow with the anticipated arrival of Cardiovascular Surgery in Thunder Bay. In preparation for this exciting change, Transfusion Services was recently reorganized to sit under its own Coordinator in the lab.
“Blood transfusion and testing is expected to increase when this type of surgery is offered on site,” explains Georgia Carr, Manager, Clinical Lab, TBRHSC. “Under the guidance and leadership of Janet Sharun, our first Coordinator of Transfusion Medicine, I am confident that this growing service will continue to flourish, making Transfusion Medicine an integral part of successfully offering Cardiovascular Surgery here at the Health Sciences Centre.”
For more information about blood transfusion, visit www.transfusionontario.org.