When it comes to educating patients on the benefits of placenta donation, Adena Health System has proven it can deliver.
Less than two years after Adena began partnering with Lifeline of Ohio and collected its first placenta donation, leaders of the organ procurement organization were back on the Adena Regional Medical Center campus recently to celebrate the 100th donation at the healthaystem. Of the 19 Ohio hospitals that now take part in what has become a growing program for Lifeline of Ohio, Adena is just the fourth to hit that milestone number.
“In less than two years, here we are celebrating your 100th donation, and that’s truly incredible,” said Lifeline of Ohio Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Smith.
Normally, the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic membrane are just discarded following a birth, their purpose providing essential needs for a developing fetus having been fulfilled. The placental material provided by donors, rather than being thrown away, can be processed into an allograft that can be used to help others in the healing of acute and chronic wounds and other maladies such as burns, skin cancer, scar revisions, venous ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers and vascular ulcers.
Each placenta can produce, on average, 25 of these grafts, meaning the Adena donations have resulted in creation of approximately 2,500 grafts that have been used to improve the lives of other patients. The grafts play a natural biologic role in enhancing natural wound healing.
“Adena has been a leader in this program and it has had a huge impact,” said Erin Pidgeon, supervisor of the placenta donation program for Lifeline of Ohio. “That’s all because of the participation from the community – all the families who have generously donated and the awesome leadership we’ve had at Adena in labor and delivery and in the OB/GYN offices in sharing this program with people to make those placenta donations happen.”
Expectant mothers without any disqualifying medical conditions who have scheduled Caesarian section deliveries are eligible to donate their placenta at no cost to themselves. The mother simply completes a consent form and responds to a medical history questionnaire several days before the scheduled birth. Lifeline of Ohio coordinators are available to answer questions and provide follow-up as needed.
Jamie Arledge, who has represented Adena in the partnership with Lifeline of Ohio since the Health System collected its first placenta donation, said its success locally rests with widespread involvement of Adena’s caregivers and strong community support.
“It’s truly a team effort,” Arledge said. “It starts with our providers and our staff in the offices talking about placenta donation with their eligible patients and the work of the team that ensures we’re following all of the steps to collect the placenta properly. Our surgery schedulers play an active role in it as well, ensuring that if a patient wants to donate that it is identified correctly from the very get-go when the procedure is scheduled.”
In celebration of the milestone, members of Lifeline of Ohio’s leadership recently made a brief presentation recognizing the milestone to Adena’s OB/GYN leadership, visited with staff in labor and delivery at ARMC and also visited with staff at Adena Women’s Health OB/GYN – Blackwater Road offices. In each case, their message was clear.
“This milestone celebration is really a testament to your advocacy of donation and your commitment to providing hope and healing to those who need it,” Smith said.
Lifeline of Ohio, which promotes awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation, also coordinates transplantation, provides education and extends support through aftercare and bereavement programs. The designated organ procurement organization serves 38 Ohio counties and two counties in West Virginia. For more on Lifeline of Ohio’s placenta donation program, visit lifelineofohio.org/get-the-facts/placenta-donation/.
Submitted by Jason Gilham, communications manager, Adena Health System.