ABSTRACT: The process of obtaining consent for organ and tissue donation is complex for both families and professionals. The objective of this study was to assess whether the long-term guidance of the relatives of ICU patients, in combination with the training of staff on communicating on organ donation, is of overriding importance in increasing the donation consent rate. A multicentre study was conducted at 3 hospitals for this purpose.
We compared the family consent rate for donation at 1 intervention hospital with those from 2 control hospitals between December 2007 and November 2009. At the intervention hospital, trained donation practitioners guided 66 families throughout the ICU hospitalisation until they had reached decisions regarding donation. At the first control hospital, where no family guidance or training took place, 107 families were approached. At the second control hospital, 'hostesses' not trained in discussing donation-related questions supported 99 families during the period of hospitalisation. A total of 272 families of potential donors were approached and asked to consent for donation. We compared consent rates, and evaluated the families' experiences by means of a questionnaire sent approximately 4 months after death.
Family consent rates were significantly higher at the intervention hospital (57.6%) than at the control hospitals (34.6% and 39.4%, respectively). The response rate to the questionnaire was 69%. The answers revealed no confounding variables that could have influenced the consent rate.
The appointment of trained donation practitioners at the intervention hospital, who guided families during the period of ICU hospitalisation and the donation decision-making process, resulted in a significantly higher consent rate.
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 01/2012; 156(6):A4300.