Published by Kirby Winn on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 in News Releases
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) is rolling out a new program to help transfusion recipients across the Blood Center’s four-state service region share their appreciation for blood donors. Thank-The-Donor™ is a tool that allows transfusion recipients, their family members, and caregivers to send messages to the donor(s) who provided their specific unit(s) of blood. MVRBC is the provider of blood components to more than 115 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The Blood Center has provided Thank-the-Donor messaging in select communities over the last year and is now offering the service across the Blood Center’s service region.
HOW IT WORKS: TRANSFUSION RECIPIENTS COMMUNICATE ANONYMOUSLY THROUGH ONLINE PORTAL
Beginning the week of January 4, units of blood shipped to hospitals served by MVRBC will include a green “Thank-the-Donor” tag, inviting transfusion recipients to send a message to their donor(s). Patients (or family members and clinical staff at the hospital) are instructed to send an anonymous message via an online portal, using the unique identification number from each unit given to the patient. The unit number allows the Blood Center to route the message back through to the appropriate donor(s).
Communication is moderated by Blood Center staff, and messages are reviewed to ensure all communication is anonymous. (Patients and family members may choose to submit photos, but not their name, location, or other specific identifying information.)
“When a donor gives blood, they don’t know who will benefit from their donation,” said Lori Arguello, Marketing and Community Relations Manager, who has overseen the Thank-the-Donor trial and implementation. “We think a word of thanks directly from recipients will inspire donors to know how much good they’re doing by giving blood.”
The technology that powers Thank-the-Donor was initially developed by Oklahoma Blood Institute. The Blood Center began using the system on a trial basis in 2020. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org/thankthedonor.
DONORS NEEDED TO HELP MAKE UP FOR LOSSES DUE TO RECENT STORMS AND CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAYS
Snow and ice across portions of the Blood Center’s service region, combined with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, have caused significant disruption in the rate of blood donation. Donors are needed to help increase blood inventories in the new year. Through January 17, MVRBC is providing all presenting donors with a voucher to redeem for their choice of a blood donor T-shirt or $10 gift card. To schedule an appointment for donation, call (800) 747-5401, schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org, or via the Blood Center’s mobile app (www.bloodcenter.org/app).
ONGOING NEED FOR DONORS IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC
MVRBC reminds donors that blood donation is an approved, essential activity even as government bodies urge citizens to limit trips outside the home to contain the spread of COVID-19. Blood donation has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because transfusions are given on an ongoing basis at hospitals throughout our region. MVRBC has taken steps to ensure blood drives remain an acceptable and safe activity under federal, state, and local public health guidelines. All donors are required to schedule an appointment for donation and all staff, donors, and volunteers are required to wear a mask.
To maintain a safe, hygienic environment at Donor Centers and blood drives:
- All staff and donors are now required to wear a face covering while inside Donor Centers or participating in a mobile blood drive. Paper masks will be provided for those who arrive without their own mask or facial covering.
- Donors are now required to make appointments for donation. To maintain social distancing and appropriate donor flow, walk-ins will only be accepted when an appointment slot is available.
- Please do not give blood if you are experiencing any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection or have in the last 14 days been within six feet of someone who has the virus or is being tested for the virus for greater than 15 minutes without use of personal protective equipment.
- Prior to donation, donors are screened for symptoms of illness (body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level all are checked, and the donor completes a pre-donation Donor History Questionnaire).
- When possible, donors are asked to complete the Donor History Questionnaire online on the same day as their donation (see www.bloodcenter.org/EarlyQ)
- Staff have added space between chairs in screening areas and in the post-donation refreshment area. Between donations, staff wipe down chairs and surfaces to maintain a safe, hygienic environment.
About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), based in Davenport, Iowa, serves more than 115 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, as well as resource sharing partners across the country. The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit blood center was established in 1974 and operates as Central Illinois Community Blood Center (Springfield, Illinois) and Community Blood Services of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois).
The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and visit the Blood Center’s social media channels: www.facebook.com/MVRBC, www.twitter.com/willyougive, www.youtube.com/MVRBC, and www.instagram.com/willyougive/.