Southern Health-Santé Sud has been named the first health region in Canada to receive national Using Blood Wisely Designation. This signifies that each transfusing facility within Southern Health-Santé Sud has met or exceeded the national benchmark of appropriate red blood cell use in Canada.

As a vital and lifesaving resource, protecting Canada’s blood supply has never been more important due to the urgent care needs and constraints related to COVID-19. That’s why over 120 hospitals are participating in the Using Blood Wisely campaign, a national initiative to reduce inappropriate red blood cell transfusions. This campaign challenges hospitals to audit their inpatient red blood cell transfusions to see how they compare to national appropriateness benchmarks.

Southern Health-Santé Sud is a designated bilingual Regional Health Authority located in southern Manitoba, covering an area over 27 025 square kilometers wherein vibrant communities thrive including: 20 Rural Municipalities, 7 Municipalities, 4 cities, 4 towns, 1 village and 1 unorganized territory; 7 First Nation communities and many other cultures and communities including Métis, Hutterite, Francophone and Mennonite. They serve over 207 855 residents, the fastest growing population in Manitoba.

“These designations are an exciting achievement for all levels of health care, from leadership to front line staff,” says Dr. Charles Musuka, Medical Director, Transfusion Medicine, Shared Health. “We are so grateful for the hard work and dedication of all clinical and laboratory staff in Manitoba. This is a testament to their commitment to providing the best possible care for patients and best practices in Manitoba.”

With support from the Shared Health Transfusion Medicine Program, Best Blood Manitoba, and Choosing Wisely Manitoba, the hospitals and facilities within Southern Health-Santé Sud teamed up to implement the transfusion stewardship project – Appropriate Inpatient Red Blood Cell Utilization in Manitoba. This provincial clinical practice change implemented a new set of guidelines that optimizes laboratory and clinical processes to assess the appropriateness of each unit transfused in the inpatient setting.

Nurse educators, clinical educators, physicians, leaders and other staff from across Southern Health-Santé Sud also took part in a key step of the Appropriate Red Blood Cell Utilization project. Prior to the provincial roll out of the project, these individuals granted the Transfusion Stewardship team their time and expertise by joining in on a workshop to provide feedback on the guidelines. This additional support provided by the region was an influential aspect in the success of this important change for our province.

“The Southern Health-Santé Sud region has been an important partner in this project,” said Petr Kresta, Chief Operating Officer, Diagnostic Services, Shared Health. “Staff and clinicians from the region came together to provide important assistance to our Transfusion Medicine department by reviewing and testing changes to optimize this process for all of Manitoba. Being named the first region in Canada to receive the Using Blood Wisely designation is an exciting testament to their commitment to transfusion stewardship.”

When every drop counts, it takes a concerted effort to safeguard Canada’s blood supply. Choosing Wisely Canada and Canadian Blood Services would like to thank participating hospitals for their pursuit of best practices in transfusion medicine and collective efforts to deliver safe, quality, and appropriate care.

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