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Intensive care nurses have doubts about method for establishing brain death
Date:6/28/2011

ital to the ICU nurses, irrespective of whether organs were to be donated or not. Supporting the family through the process and ensuring that the decision about donation reached by them was genuinely considered and taken of their own free will were also considered important.

"Nothing must go wrong" was an expression that came up time and time again, both in terms of the relation to the family and caring for a potential donor," says Flodn.

The nurses' own thoughts on the diagnosis of brain death and organ donation were considered to be important, since nurses will act on the basis of their perceptions, consciously or subconsciously, and their perceptions could also affect the family's attitude to organ donation.

"If a nurse is having doubts, this will be obvious to the family and could also trigger uncertainty in them," says Flodn.

"The questionnaire also showed that 39 per cent of ICU nurses had been in situations where the question of organ donation had not been raised with close relatives as the situation was considered so emotionally delicate that it was felt to be inappropriate," says Flodn.

She is adamant that the responsibility does not lie with individual ICU nurses, but instead points to a need for a clear and supportive organisation and for guidelines for the entire donation process, particularly the early stages.

"This problem was raised by many of the ICU nurses in several of the studies," says Flodn. "They were disappointed in the lack of structure and guidelines and are therefore calling for more support from management on these issues."

ORGAN DONATION

Swedish law stipulates that a patient must be declared brain dead in order for their organs or tissues to be donated. The person must also have died during treatment by means of a ventilator in an ICU. Cerebral haemorrhage is the most common cause of death that results in organ donation.

According to the Swedish Transp
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Contact: Anne Flodn
anne.floden@vgregion.se
46-070-646-1267
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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