What will help organ donation become a routine, accepted feature of palliative care?
Why isn’t organ donation more talked about? It’s huge. It saves lives. But it’s still awkward. Like the child at the school disco who’d rather sit on their hands than dance.
At the moment of someone’s death it seems like talk of organ donation can all too easily become the elephant in the room. Something invasive and painful that’s hard to bring up when relatives are in the shock that can follow a death.
But Fiona Murphy, clinical lead for bereavement and donation at the Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, spoke at this month’s Patient Safety Congress and proved that donation doesn’t have to be a painful experience. She says she has normalised organ donation as a part of end-of-life care giving. And thinks it crazy that other hospitals haven’t done the same.
When Fiona was given the job of increasing solid organ donations at Bolton Hospital she decided to make it into something big. By linking together the bereavement and organ donation services she was determined to provide equal support for all relatives, regardless of whether or not they had decided to donate their loved one’s organs.
All families were to be offered support and everyone was to be involved in creating a uniform bereavement care bundle. Even the porters were involved in how to deliver dignified care, as they were the ones who transported the bodies, and had insight into grieving when they found family members crying in the corridors.
According to the NHSBT, more than 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant. And of these, 1000 will die each year as there are not enough organs available. So what needs to change? How can organ donation become the norm? What has to happen at your hospital to make it possible?