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Organ and Tissue Donation: A Decision Not To Be Regretted

Armen Hareyan's picture

End of Life and Organ Donation

End-of-life decisions remain with the living long after the death of a family member and have been implicated in abnormal and complicated grief. As families have a time limited opportunity to consider organ donation it is imperative that the approach and discussion about organ donation facilitates a decision that will not be regretted later, coming as it does at a time when family members are emotionally and cognitively ill equipped to respond to donation requests. Through a three-year study, the researchers sought to clarify the needs of family members throughout their decision-making about organ donation and their subsequent bereavement.

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They identified four main categories which illustrated the issues that influenced families' ability to agree or decline donation and their perception of the decision-making process. The categories explicated: concerns about knowledge of the deceased's donation wish, views held by the extended family about donation, giving meaning to the death and events that occurred in the hospital that were perceived as positive or negative. Families who did not donate reported that their decision was influenced by: a lack of knowledge about the deceased's wishes, poor communication about the brain injury and knowledge of what was happening to their relative, unsatisfactory rapport with health professionals, a perceived catalogue of poor care preceding the deterioration to death, the view that not enough had been done for the deceased and the forthright views of family members who were anti organ donation.

Magi Sque (University of Southampton)