Giving blood gets easier for Grand Forks donorsThe Dak-Minn Blood Bank has a new home away from Altru Hospital, which easier access and more parking for donors. The hospital has more room for its cardiology department as well.
By: Christopher Bjorke, Grand Forks Herald
Altru Health System’s blood collection service, Dak-Minn Blood Bank, is trying to make itself more convenient for people like Phil Kraemer and easier for the people he works with.
“This is 95 pints today,” said Kraemer after giving blood at Dak-Minn’s new facility at 3375 DeMers Ave. in Grand Forks.
It would take a faithful donor about 16 years to reach that amount giving every two months. That dedication is something Kraemer encourages among his employees at Lunseth Plumbing and Heating by giving vacation hours for donations.
Altru officials hope that moving the service away from its main Columbia Road campus will make it more convenient for the donor-dependent blood bank, which provides for Altru’s blood needs.
“For donors, No. 1, it’s the parking,” said Mark Jensen, donor resource coordinator for Dak-Minn. “That’s the one thing we’ve been hearing in the one day since we’ve been open.”
The bank moved on Monday from its old quarters at Altru Hospital, where Jensen said the size of the medical campus with its expanse of parking lots made it inconvenient for donors.
Dak-Minn relies on about 550 donors giving per month to supply Altru with 6,500 units of blood products a year, including blood, platelets and plasma, according to Jensen.
The new offices also give the blood bank more space for its staff, donors and blood processing equipment more space. The building was the location of a medical practice and is owned by Altru.
Altru has been expanding and relocating services around its main campus and the south Grand Forks location it acquired this year. The relocation of the blood bank will make room for an expansion of its cardiology department at Altru Hospital.
“Altru obviously is growing,” Jensen said. “We were in tight quarters also.”
Dak-Minn’s old space at the hospital will be used for short-term cardiac patients, who had been placed in in-patient rooms during their treatments, said Altru Chief Operating Officer Brad Wehe in an email.
“This will allow more access to beds for the growing number of inpatients at Altru,” he said.
Altru would like the easier access to draw more donors like Kraemer, who said he has seen some of the Lunseth employees become regular donors and then encourage others. About half of his staff now gives blood, he said.
“For some of the guys it’s a challenge, too,” he said. “They say, ‘If I can do it, you can do it, too.’”
Call Bjorke at (701) 780-1117; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1117; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.