Family initiated discussions about organ donation at the time of death

Clin Transplant. Jul-Aug 2010;24(4):493-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2009.01096.x.


Some family members initiate organ donation discussions before being approached by donor coordinators or healthcare providers. We examined differences between families that did vs. did not initiate organ donation discussions and factors predicting donation consent among those families that self-initiated the discussion. Next-of-kin of donor-eligible individuals (147 donors, 138 non-donors) from one organ procurement organization completed a telephone interview. Seventy-three families (25.6%) first mentioned organ donation, and 54 (74%) of them consented to donation. Several characteristics of the deceased and next-of-kin were associated with whether family members initiated the donation discussion with donation coordinators or healthcare providers. Moreover, family mention of donation was more likely to yield consent when the deceased was younger (OR=0.95, CI=0.92-0.99), next-of-kin was a registered donor (OR=3.86, CI=2.84-6.76), and when family was more satisfied with the healthcare team (OR=1.20, CI=1.04-1.39). Knowing the deceased's donation intentions and being exposed to positive organ donation messages are more likely to trigger families to raise donation with providers. Organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and healthcare providers should work collaboratively to develop strategies for how best to respond to families who initiate this conversation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Decision Making*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tissue Donors / psychology*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*