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Blood Stewardship at Virginia Mason Medical Center

At Virginia Mason Medical Center, blood conservation, management and stewardship are important elements of our Respect for People principle. The health care teams at Virginia Mason Medical Center understand and respect the values and views of our patients. We work with individuals to ensure each receives the best care possible consistent with their needs and values.

Virginia Mason Medical Center’s blood stewardship program seeks to ensure all blood and blood products are used wisely, only when necessary, and in the smallest amount needed to ensure the best health outcomes for all patients. For patients that do not have the option or desire to receive blood products, the team partners with patients to ensure that bloodless options for care are available.

The following blood stewardship strategies are employed at Virginia Mason Medical Center:

Optimize anemia and coagulation issues prior to surgery

  • Patients can be assessed for anemia, and offered treatments — if needed — prior to surgery to reduce or avoid the need for transfusions
  • Patients on oral anticoagulants may have their doses temporarily stopped or modified to reduce risks for bleeding

Minimize removal of blood for diagnostic testing before and during hospital stay

  • For those at risk for anemia, blood draws can be minimized

Perform minimally-invasive surgical procedures when the option exists

  • Surgical instruments and techniques that make the smallest and most efficient incisions are used to minimize blood loss

Use technology to recover and re-infuse patients’ own blood during surgery

  • A device that recycles a patient’s blood, known as a Cell Saver (cell salvage machine) can be used during some procedures with a high-risk for bleeding to avoid the need for blood transfusion

Use strict, conservative transfusion thresholds when blood is needed and patient agrees to accept blood

  • Blood transfusions, for those who can accept them, are only given when evidence-based appropriateness criteria are met based on each patient’s unique health condition

Ensure blood products are administered safely and effectively when patient agrees to accept blood

  • Virginia Mason Medical Center’s transfusion practices are consistent with the best available evidence for transfusion safety
  • The Blood Transfusion and Conservation Committee at Virginia Mason Medical Center monitors key performance indicators for safety, stewardship and effectiveness, and engages in process improvements to meet the highest levels of safety
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center maintains a collaborative relationship with our community blood bank, Bloodworks Northwest, to ensure the right products are available at the right time for our patients who need them

For questions or more information about the Blood Management Program at Virginia Mason Medical Center, contact our Transfusion Safety Officer:

Joy Selchow, MSN, RN, CRNI
(206) 341-1472