News

Normalising organ donation: How GPs can help


Morgan Liotta


30/10/2018 3:32:38 PM

A new government campaign aims to make organ donation a routine part of discussions in primary care and among families – and GPs can be well placed to start that conversation.

According to the Organ and Tissue Authority, one main reason that families decline organ donation is because they may not have been aware of what their loved one wanted.
According to the Organ and Tissue Authority, one main reason that families decline organ donation is because they may not have been aware of what their loved one wanted.

The Australian Government Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) is calling on GPs to start conversations with their patients around organ donation.
 
The OTA push comes after a patient-targeted campaign in August to promote community awareness and encourage patients in the waiting room to consider becoming an organ donor and having the discussion with their family.
 
Information packs are being sent to 3600 practices around Australia, focusing on key myths and facts about organ and tissue donation, tips for discussing the benefits of organ donation, and posters to display in the waiting room.
 
The aim is to support GPs’ knowledge of organ and tissue donation and foster their care of patients who may be eligible or considering becoming an organ donor, as well as raise community awareness and break some common myths, such as age, religion and lifestyle choices, around donor eligibility.
 
It is important GPs feel comfortable discussing organ donation with their patients, as well as potential organ donors being comfortable having the same discussion with their families, especially regarding advance care directives.

The OTA campaign focuses on the significance of telling family members, stating that ‘73% of families who have prior knowledge of their loved one’s willingness to donate say yes [to the donation], and this increases to 90% when the deceased is a registered donor.’

When the family is unaware of their loved one’s donation decision, only 44% of families agree to donation.

The Victorian Government recently announced an overhaul of the state’s organ donation system to help increase numbers of donors and consequent lives saved, by automatically assessing all eligible donors and approaching them and their families about their wishes, regardless of whether they are on the organ register.
 
According to the OTA, one in three Australians are current registered donors, despite the majority (69%) believing that registering is important. In 2017, the overall donation rate was 20.7 donors per million people.
 
Out of the 36% of Australians who feel confident they know if their loved ones are willing to be a donor, 93% say they would uphold their wishes.



advance care directive end of life care Organ and Tissue Authority organ donor organ register



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Dr Poonam Khosla   2/11/2018 10:50:18 PM

I have a suggestion in order to increase the number of organ donors why don’t we start the discussion with patients and the community through Television and after a period of 6 months, everyone gets automatically registered as organ donor unless they opt out just like the health summaries that have been uploaded by 15 th oct.


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