Sault Area Hospital (SAH) is one of three hospitals in Northern Ontario and one of 26 across the Province to have an active Blood Conservation Program. Funded by the Ontario Nurse Transfusion Coordinators (ONTraC), the mandate of the program is to reduce blood transfusions in Ontario through proper training, education and clinical intervention, and improving practices involving blood/blood products.

Currently our focus at SAH is on pre-operative blood conservation and we are working with those patients who could have greater than 10% blood loss as a result of their surgery. This is predominantly patients who are having hip or knee replacement surgery. Surgery patients are referred to the Program for assessment prior to their surgery through the OR booking office at SAH.

Patients are usually seen six to eight weeks before their surgery. Prior to this visit, patients are required to have blood work. There may also be situations when the surgery needs to be postponed until the patient is healthy enough for the surgery.

In preparation for surgery, patients have the option of either pre-donating their own blood if they are medically fit, or receiving blood/blood products through Canadian Blood Services (CBS). When patients come in, the risks and benefits of both options are explained because of the risk of infection that exists with any procedure. The Program also provides follow-up after surgery.

Studies show that hospitals with ONTraC blood conservation programs had lower transfusion rates than hospitals without the program. For more information about, ONTraC, visit the Provincial Blood Conservation Program.