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Improving family consent in organ donation could save lives
Date:12/21/2011

, may perform better than a physician who may be involved in donation infrequently. Studies carried out by Shafer and colleagues suggest that early contact with families and interaction before any conversation about donation increased consent and authorisation rates. The study showed 75% consent rates for groups that had contact with a coordinator for more than 3 hours. Since 2009, the UK has expanded its pool of coordinators from 100 to 250. It is anticipated that the value and expertise the specialist nurses bring to the intensive care unit will become accepted more widely in areas where the model has not already been embraced.

Practical steps for improving consent:

  • Promote the need for families to discuss their wishes regarding organ donation
  • Discuss donation at a time separate to that when the family are informed of the death or its inevitability, in an unhurried manner
  • Ensure the family are given specific information and that in particular, concerning DBD, the concept of brain stem death is fully explained
  • Use an approach pre-planned by the coordinator/specialist nurse and healthcare team that considers specific individual circumstances

Dr. A. Vincent, author of 'Consent for organ donation', comments that "Only 60% of families when asked, give consent for organ donation from a loved one. Research would suggest that adopting a best practice model with respect to the process involved in consent for organ donation could improve this rate. It is an improvement in consent rates, more than in any other area, that would see a real increase in donor numbers in the UK."

Paul Murphy, National Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: "Organ transplantation is made possible through the generosity of people who donate their organs so that others can live on, but also through the skill and dedication of a great many clinical staff. There has been much progress in recent
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Contact: Gabby Fletcher
gabby.fletcher@oup.com
01-865-353-969
Oxford University Press
Source:Eurekalert

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