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Training key to boosting organ donation consent rates

NHS Blood and Transplant has launched a set of training tools designed to help maximise the number of referrals for organ donation and the consent rate.

It has produced a DVD on how to approach families of potential organ donors, a printed guide that complements the DVD and a quick reference guide.

The aim is that health professionals making the family approach will be more skilled to approach a family about organ donation and sensitively deal with objections raised.

While 2012-13 was a record year in the UK for the number of deceased donors and transplants, the consent rates for organ donation still rank among the lowest in Europe – 405 of families approached refused to donate.

Paul Murphy, national clinical lead for organ donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said it was important specialist nurses and clinical teams received training “to be able to raise donation with grieving families in the right way and at the right time”.

“Only in this way will we reduce our shocking rates of family refusal and give patients the best chance of getting the transplants they need,” Dr Murphy said.

The training package builds on guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and has been given to all UK specialist nurses in organ donation. 

It emphasises the importance of notifying a specialist nurse in organ donation as soon as the possibility for donation is recognised and involving them in how donation will then be raised with the family of the potential donors. 

Figures from the Potential Donor Audit 2012-13 emphasise just how important this is, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.

Last year 66% of families agreed to organ donation going ahead when a specialist nurse in organ donation was involved in the approach, compared to just 37% when they were not.

Contact Pauline O’Brien on 01923 367669 for a free copy of the training materials.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Referring to an earlier article on organ donor opt out in Wales
    'Opt-out' organ system becomes law in Wales 10 September, 2013

    I believe in order to increase public confidence over this issue people need to be made aware in exact detail of what brain stem death testing entails and just why the tests are considered 100% reliable and infallible.
    Even as a health professional I would only feel reassured that my loved one was no more if I knew that every possible means of establishing life/death had been done using up to date methods which make use of available modern technology and not solely reliant on tests that were established in the 1960s.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • "The aim is that health professionals making the family approach will be more skilled to approach a family about organ donation and sensitively deal with objections raised."



    "“Only in this way will we reduce our shocking rates of family refusal and give patients the best chance of getting the transplants they need,” Dr Murphy said."

    care is needed in choice of words and use of language.

    the two paragraphs above are suggestive of coercion.

    'objections' - the family who do not wish to donate organs of their loved ones are within their rights not to do for reasons they are not obliged to share and must not be put in a situation where they feel a need to 'object'.

    the second paragraph quoted above is highly judgemental and sounds as though the guilt is being passed on to them for 'refusing' which is the same as 'non-compliance' or 'non-collaboration' - judgemental terms used in patients notes when they disagree with or do not accept advice offered to them or a diagnosis or treatment. these are terms which are suggestive of wilful or aggressive opposition and can also be damaging for further treatment or even in some situations insurance claims.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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