Organ donation is consented to more often by families when a specialist nurse is involved in the approach, new figures suggest.
Two-thirds (66%) of families gave their consent for organ donation to go ahead when a specialist nurse in organ donation was involved in the approach, according to the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2012-13.
When there was no specialist nurse involved in the process just over one-third (37%) of families gave their consent/authorisation to organ donation, the data shows.
Overall, four out of 10 families who were approached about donation declined to give their consent.
NHS Blood and Transplant believes that refusal rate could be reduced if specialist nurses in organ donation are more often involved in the process, and if they get involved at an earlier stage.
There has been an increase in the use of specialist organ donation nurses over the past year across the UK, the report shows.
Seven out of 10 (71%) approaches to families about organ donation in 2012-13 involved a specialist nurse in organ donation, compared with around six out of 10 (63%) a year earlier.
This latest report adds weight to guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) back in December 2011 that outlined the need to involve specialist nurses in organ donation as quickly as possible.
Dr Paul Murphy, national clinical lead in organ donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, believes specialist nurses have a “vital role” in the organ donation process.
“It is essential that all hospitals with a potential donor involve our team as early as they can,” he said.
“Our specialist nurses will attend donor hospitals as quickly as possible, help support families in decision making and coordinate organ retrieval as efficiently as they can. In this way patients waiting for an organ will stand the best chance of getting the transplants they need.”
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