Since 1970, January has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month to honor donors and stress the importance of blood donation.
This January, start the year off by making a resolution to help your community and the lives of people around you. It’s the perfect time to donate blood – when unpredictable weather and post-holiday activities make it difficult for donors to schedule appointments. If you already donate once each year, make it two in 2014. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
There are only a few requirements to be eligible to donate blood. Donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old in most states or 16 years old with parental consent if allowed by state law. The American Red Cross reports that just one pint of blood donated can save up to three lives.
“Since many major surgeries need blood to be available on standby, blood donation plays a vital role in patient safety,” says Beckey Cochran, WVMI health care quality improvement director. “Blood donation is a small way to make a big impact on your community.”
As the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for West Virginia, the West Virginia Medical Institute is committed to helping hospitals and nursing homes provide better patient care. A component of this work is surgery safety.
To learn more about the blood donation process and to locate a blood donation event near you, please visit the American Red Cross Web site at www.redcrossblood.org/. If you are unable to donate blood, there are other ways to start the year with a life-saving gift:
• Volunteer at a community drive.
• Refer someone to donate blood or platelets – the number one reason people don’t donate is because they haven’t been asked.
• Host a blood drive at your school, place of business or faith-based organization.