American Red Cross and Blood Donation Term Paper

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American Red Cross and Blood Donation:

The American Red Cross is an organization that plays a crucial role in the health care system of the United States. This is primarily because the organization is the largest single supplier of blood and associated products in the country. American Red Cross collects and processes over 40% of America's blood supply and distributes the blood to nearly 3,000 healthcare facilities and transfusion centers across the globe. In addition, the organization also plays a major role in safeguarding the safety of blood donors and patients as well as increasing the accessibility and availability of blood and blood products. Notably, American Red Cross depends on ordinary individuals and citizens to donate blood as well give their time, expertise, and finances in collection and distribution of blood and blood products. While there is no need for a special reason for an individual to donate blood, donating blood helps in changing a life because of the constant need for blood and blood products by some patients.

Background Information:

American Red Cross is an organization that has continued to play a major role in the country's health care system since the Second World War when the nation was in need of a huge supply of lifesaving blood ("About Us," par, 2). The need for lifesaving blood on a huge scale contributed to the development of this organization that collected approximately 13.3 million pints of blood plasma for use by American soldiers in the war. Upon the completion of World War II, American Red Cross launched the first countrywide civilian blood campaign and program. Since then, the organization collects about 6.5 million units of blood annually from nearly 4 million donors across the globe. In addition, the Red Cross distributes over 9 million blood products to several health care facilities and transfusion centers for transfusion.

The organization has developed to become the single largest provider of blood in the United States while also being a leader in research and testing to safeguard blood supply safety. Actually, American Red Cross was the first to create and execute testing procedures for infectious diseases like hepatitis B and C. And HIV. Apart from performing these functions, the organization operates a unique countrywide hemovigilance program to evaluate the adverse reactions of donors and patients. The data generated from the hemovigilance program is used to improve the quality and safety of blood and blood products. The other important function of the American Red Cross is its significant role in policies and standards for the industry through the involvement and participation of its experts. These experts help in ensuring the organization offers important data and competence that affect the direction of the blood banking sector.

With regards to the organization's role in ensuring an adequate blood supply, American Red Cross continues to work towards increasing the availability of blood and blood products. This process includes creating awareness among probable donors regarding healthy habits that will lessen deferrals and enhance the yield from platelet donors. As an important part of United States' blood supply, American Red Cross increases the diverse recruitment of blood donors. This is coupled by several initiatives to increase the number of blood donors across communities in the world and create awareness of the need for donating blood.

Donating Blood:

As previously mentioned, American Red Cross depends on ordinary citizens and individuals to give what they have towards the collection of blood and blood products ("Giving and Collecting Blood," par, 1). Individuals can participate in the process by either giving blood or giving their money, time, and expertise. Generally, people donate blood in order to contribute towards maintaining a healthy and reliable blood supply in the country. American Red Cross helps in maintaining such blood supply by recruiting donors since many people argue that they don't donate blood because they have never been asked to do so. The organization is committed towards recruiting potential blood donors through conducting several blood drives.

In some cases, American Red Cross partners with organizations to host a blood drive through offering an appropriate location, schedule, and volunteers to help in the process. Furthermore, the organization publicizes the event and works in every stage of planning and organizing such an event. Volunteers who work with American Red Cross help ensure that every donor has a positive experience, especially by appreciating them for their contribution towards a healthy and safe blood supply. There are numerous opportunities for volunteering with American Red Cross including welcoming donors and providing refreshments to individuals who have donated blood.

Why Donate Blood?

Blood donation is in essence a gift of life that a healthy person can give to sick or injured individuals in the community. Generally, blood is the most precious gift that you can give another individual since it contributes towards saving a life. You can save a life through blood donation in spite of the division of your blood into various components that can be used for patients with certain conditions. Actually, if your blood is divided into its components i.e. platelets, red cells, and plasma, it can be used individually for patients with particular conditions ("Why Should I Donate Blood?" par, 4). Therefore, blood donation is a contribution towards safe and healthy blood that improves health and saves lives.

Blood donation is important in saving lives because blood transfusion is required for various purposes including for women with certain complications during pregnancy like haemorrhage and ectopic pregnancies. Moreover, blood transfusion is required for patients with severe trauma after accidents, children with severe anaemia, and for cancer and surgical patients. Regular transfusions are also necessary for individuals with conditions like sickle cell illnesses and thalassaemia. These examples demonstrate that there is a constant need for regular blood supply since blood and blood products can only be stored for a short period of time. Therefore, there is need for regular blood donations to ensure the availability and accessibility of healthy and safe blood. By donating blood, you will not only contribute towards a healthy and safe blood supply but also help in saving lives.

The Process of Blood Donation:

When considering donating blood, you need to get ready for the donation, understand the process, and take necessary healthy measures after the donation. With regards to getting ready for the donation, you should hydrate i.e. drink plenty of fluids on the day to donate blood. In addition, you should wear clothing whose sleeves can be easily rolled up above the elbow. The other important factor is to sustain a healthy level of iron in your diet prior to donating blood during weeks before the donation.

With regards to the donation itself, it is a simple four-step process that can make a huge difference in someone's life. Generally, the donation process takes approximately one hour from the time you arrive until you leave the donation center. However, the blood donation itself will range from 8 to 10 minutes. The first step is registration where Red Cross' staff and volunteers will not only sign you in but also examine basic eligibility and donation information ("Donation Process," par, 2). During this process, you will be provided with information on blood donation and requested to show a donor card or other forms of identity. This will be followed by the second step, which involves examining health history and mini-physical exam. The evaluation will incorporate answering certain questions about your health history and places you have visited in a private and confidential interview. Red Cross staff will also examine your blood pressure, temperature, hemoglobin level, and pulse that exist in a sample of your blood. Health history and mini-physical exam will pave way for the donation that is carried out in three phases. These are cleansing an area of your arm, inserting a new sterile needle to draw blood,…[continue]

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