Towards a national model for organ donation requests in Australia: evaluation of a pilot model

Crit Care Resusc. 2015 Dec;17(4):233-8.


Objective: To evaluate whether structural elements of a collaborative requesting model were observed in practice, and explore the impact of specialised communications training and elements of the model on consent rates.

Design: A national observational study captured staff observations of the organ donation requesting process.

Setting: DonateLife staff in 15 hospitals collected data from medical, nursing and allied health professionals who participated in the donation requesting process over a 12-month period.

Participants: Data were collected from 201 family donation conversations (FDCs).

Main outcome measures: Whether structural elements of the model were observed in practice, and rates of consent to donate.

Results: For most cases, there was a team planning meeting (87.0%); a gap in time between the meeting at which family understands brain death or the inevitability of death and the FDC for most cases (72.0%); and at least one trained requester present at the FDC (80.7%). Consent rates were significantly different according to who led the FDC: an untrained treating clinical specialist (45.2%); a trained treating clinical specialist (54.8%); or a trained requester who was not part of the treating clinical team (74.5%) (χ2=11.92, P=0.003). Logistic regression showed that the odds ratio (OR) for consent was significantly greater when the patient was on the Australian Organ Donor Register (OR, 9.3; CI, 3.5-24.5) and when the FDC was led by an FDC-trained requester who was not part of the treating clinical team (OR, 6.8; CI, 2.3-19.9).

Conclusions: Structural elements of the model were observed in most cases, indicating that the model is feasible and acceptable. We showed that the highest consent rates were achieved when FDCs were led by professionals who had completed the specialised communications training and were not part of the treating clinical team for that patient.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Informed Consent / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / organization & administration
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult