Organ Donation in the 50+ Age Demographic: Survey Results on Decision Rationale and Information Preferences

J Appl Gerontol. 2016 Sep;35(9):923-38. doi: 10.1177/0733464814529843. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


The rate of organ donation by older potential donors is significantly declining even though recent studies show positive clinical outcomes with organs transplanted from older donors. This study examined the 50+ age demographic to identify the rationale for donation decisions, preferred media methods of donation information delivery, and responsiveness to an age-tailored donation message. Results from 579 surveys, 87% from the 50+ age demographic, found respondents prone to self-select themselves as medically ineligible based on current medication and health status, even though they might be medically suitable donors. Their incentive to pursue additional information on donation is limited except when motivated by personal accounts within their families and communities. In addition, even when computer literate, they continue to favor the printed or spoken word for donation information delivery. The results suggest an opportunity for those working with older adults to develop more personalized, localized donation education programs targeting this age demographic.

Keywords: 50+ demographic; donation education; organ donation.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Decision Making*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*