Portable Donor Chairs Help Blood Banks Prepare For Emergencies

In the wake of recent disasters and emergencies, ordinary people knew how to be heroes: they lined up to give blood.

Blood can be a literal lifesaver for communities dealing with a crisis, which is why the American Red Cross and other organizations often issue calls for donors.

But handling the outpouring of goodwill means blood banks have to be prepared in advance – with plans, personnel and equipment to meet the need.

“Mobile phlebotomy is crucial in the aftermath of an emergency,” said Chad Dunbar, Vice President of Custom Comfort Medtek (CCM), a major manufacturer of phlebotomy furniture. “Portable donor chairs and beds make responding to high-blood-demand situations easier and more efficient for blood banks of any size.”

Portable chairs allow blood collection to occur in places where the donors are available – and often willing to wait hours in line – or the need is greatest, even if the location is outdoors or far from the organization’s regular sites.

The Right Chair For The Situation

CCM offers three kinds of portable blood-draw chairs suitable for use during emergencies or disasters:

  • The JA2018 is a lightweight, stackable lounge-style unit made of durable vinyl strapping on a tubular aluminum frame. It comes with an 8-inch adjustable armrest that can be moved from one side to the other, allowing phlebotomists to perform blood draw services on patients’ right or left arms. The chair also has a tray unit. A second armrest can be added. The chair is available in a choice of colors for both frame and strapping.

    The reversible backrest design allows the lounger to lay flat, meaning that either end can be used as the backrest, or that donors can be completely reclined if necessary. The leg area, meanwhile, can be elevated for patients who have a reaction to the blood draw procedure.

    The JA2018 weighs 27 pounds and can accommodate donors who weigh up to 350 pounds. Six of the chairs can be stacked flat on the optional wheeled dolly for easy transport.

  • The JA1885 is a portable donor bed that allows donors to sit upright comfortably during the blood-draw procedure.

    At 36 pounds, the JA1885 comes with a single armrest, though a second armrest, lounge pad and supply tray can be added. The chair is made of durable vinyl strapping and also features sturdy aluminum tubing that allows the chair to accommodate patients up to 300 pounds.

    An optional transport dolly accommodates up to six chairs at one time, making the JA1885 easy to transport and set up in the field. After use, it folds up to a compact 8 inches for efficient storage.

  • The JA1201-FC is a padded chair with a reinforced steel frame that is powder coated for durability. It comes with two padded armrests that can be independently locked into an upright position or down to the side.

    At 26 pounds, the chair can be easily transported and set up for use in any location, then folded for convenient storage. It can accommodate patients up to 300 pounds. Multiple colors are available, as is an optional folding L-arm, which helps make the phlebotomy experience more comfortable for donors who are tall or bariatric.

    The folding donor chair has an optional wheeled transport dolly that accommodates four chairs.

Advantages Of Portable Chairs

Dunbar notes that portable phlebotomy chairs offer a number of advantages in high-volume situations:

  • Portability: The chairs are lightweight and simple to transport. One person can set up a chair in 60 to 90 seconds, which means staff or volunteers can be more efficient with their time.
  • Storability: The chairs have a small footprint, folding up to about 8 inches deep. They easily fit in existing storage areas until they’re needed, and some can even be hung up out of the way.
  • Scalability: Having a number of chairs lets an organization scale up its blood-collection efforts quickly and easily, going to where the need is greatest.
  • Durability: The chairs are made of durable materials and have non-porous surfaces. Armrests can be wiped with industry-standard cleaning materials between donors.

However, Dunbar said, organizations tend not to think about portable blood-draw chairs until a situation arises, which can cause problems.

“The best time to order portable phlebotomy chairs is before they are needed,” he says. “There’s production time involved. All of our chairs are custom made, right down to the customer’s choice of colors. An order could take three or four weeks to manufacture and deliver. If you wait until the day after you need these chairs to place an order, it’s too late.”

Dunbar suggests looking at your budget cycle and planning purchases for times such as the end of the year when funds are available.

“Portable phlebotomy chairs make it possible for blood banks to be operational and ready to act as soon as the need hits,” he says. “An important part of any organization’s emergency-response plan, they’re what allows a collection facility to better serve the community and save more lives.”

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