Why Blood Conservation?

McLaren Health Care is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical care that utilizes a documented, evidence-based approach for the use of blood transfusions in patient care. Every blood transfusion suppresses the immune system to some degree, with additional risks or circulatory overload and other negative events. In 2014 McLaren Health Care teamed with Strategic Healthcare Group in Indianapolis to nurture an evidence-based, blood management program throughout our system. Led by a corporate task force, blood management teams at each subsidiary were educated and trained in new transfusion guidelines to limit the level of risk to patients, improve outcomes and update patient care standards.

Through smarter use of blood products at McLaren, the real benefits are improved safety and updated patient care standards, states Dr. Dennis Spender, Medical Director of the McLaren Medical Laboratory. 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.

What You Should Know About Blood Management

  • A blood transfusion is a common procedure in which blood is given to you through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels. Nearly 5 million patients in the U.S. receive a transfusion annually.
  • A blood transfusion may be necessary when the body cannot produce blood fast enough due to major blood loss, destruction of red blood cells, and/or decreased production of red blood cells.  For example, a transfusion may be required to replace blood that is lost during surgery or from an injury, or if an individual is anemic or receiving chemotherapy.
  • Most commonly, a person receives blood from a volunteer donor who has been carefully screened; blood donated from a family member takes much more time to process and the costs may not be covered by insurance; donating one's own blood before a scheduled surgery is rarely the best option because the person becomes anemic and the blood transfusion has many of the same risks associated with blood from a volunteer donor.
  • For some types of surgery, a patient's own blood can be saved during and after the procedure and returned to the patient.
  • Blood management is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary process that is designed to promote the optimal use of blood products for every patient. The goal of blood management is to ensure the safe and efficient use of the many resources involved in the complex process of blood component therapy.
  • Blood management is necessary because blood transfusions are inherently dangerous for patients, poor blood management is extremely costly to providers and the health care system, and because there is a limited blood supply.
  • The latest research and evidence clearly shows that blood management is necessary to ensure the best outcomes for patients, including reducing the risk of infection and complications associated with transfusions.
  • Proper blood management ensures the right dose of blood is given to the right patient at the right time.
  • Patients should ask their physicians about blood management policies at their local hospitals and should always talk to medical professionals prior to scheduled surgeries and procedures.
  • McLaren is engaged in Strategic Healthcare Group's Strategic Blood Management Initiative to enhance patient safety and maintain the highest quality of care. McLaren is among a select group of hospitals across the nation to use the Strategic Blood Management's system.