The independent living donor advocate (ILDA) serves a mandated and supportive role in the care of the living organ donor, yet qualifications and role requirements are not clearly defined. Guidance comes from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions for Transplant Center Participation and interpretive guidelines, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Policy and CMS and OPTN site surveys, yet interpretation of regulations varies. Herein, the AST Living Donor Community of Practice (LDCOP) offers seven recommendations to clarify and optimize the ILDA role: (a) the ILDA must have a certain skill set rather than a specific profession, (b) the ILDA must be educated and demonstrate competence in core knowledge components, (c) the ILDA's primary role is to assess components of informed consent, (d) centers must develop a transparent system to define ILDA independence, (e) the ILDA should have a reporting structure outside the transplant center, (f) the ILDA's role should be integrated throughout the donor care continuum, (g) the ILDA role should include a narrow "veto power." We address controversies in ILDA implementation, and offer pathways to maximize benefits and minimize limitations of approaches that may each meet regulatory requirements but confer different practice benefits. We propose a research agenda to explore the impact of the ILDA.
Keywords: allied health/nursing; clinical research/practice; donors and donation: donor evaluation; donors and donation: living; ethics; ethics and public policy; kidney transplantation/nephrology; patient education; social sciences.
© Copyright 2015 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.