Blood supply in Alberta

The blood supply system in Alberta is part of the national blood supply system. The life cycle of donated blood in Alberta, described below, is from donor to recipient – from vein to vein.

From vein to vein

Canadian Blood Services

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is a national, not-for-profit organization responsible for managing the blood supply in all provinces and territories except Quebec. Hema-Quebec manages the blood supply in Quebec.

Donation

CBS has many blood donor clinics in Canada. In Alberta, CBS has both permanent and mobile blood donation clinics. Some sites offer platelet and plasma donations as well as whole blood donations. To find out about how to donate blood, go to the Canadian Blood Services website.

Blood processing

Your whole blood donation is further processed into components such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.

Plasma can be further  processed to produce more blood products. These products have many uses such as treating certain illnesses like hemophilia or immune deficiency.

  • More information on these products is on the CBS website.

The hospital blood bank tests the recipient’s blood to make sure it will match with the donated blood. Some smaller hospitals cannot do this, so they send blood samples to larger urban hospitals  for testing.

Transfusion

Before a transfusion, the patient’s physician must get informed consent from the patient or alternate decision maker. Once informed consent and testing are complete, a transfusion can occur but only after verbal and visual confirmation of the patient’s identity.

Sometimes patients have a reaction to blood transfusions. When this happens, there is an investigation to discover the reason for the reaction. To improve the safety of transfusion, hospitals send reports on transfusion reactions to the Alberta Provincial Blood Coordinating Program.

Blood inventory

An Alberta Blood Contingency Plan has been developed and will help Alberta cope if a blood shortage happens.