End of life care

Organ Donation as part of end of life care

UK framework

The Organ Donation Taskforce proposed the principle that organ donation should be viewed as part of end of life care – when it was a possibility clinically and consistent with the values and beliefs of the patient and those close to them. 

The UK Donation Ethics Committee provided detailed frameworks for the application of these principles and the General Medical Council has also defined the roles and responsibilities of medical staff in the UK who are involved in the care of patients who may be potential organ donors (see box for further details):

Guidance from the General Medical Council for doctors caring for potential organ donors

If a patient is close to death and their views cannot be determined, you should be prepared to explore with family or friends who are close to them to see whether they had expressed any views about organ or tissue donation and to determine if donation is a possibility.

You should follow any national procedures for identifying potential organ donors and, in appropriate cases, for notifying the local transplant coordinator.

The Moment of Honour

The Moment of Honour is a respectful pause, taking place either before or after the retrieval operation.

This moment brings together those who have cared for the donor, and is a time of reflection and appreciation of the selfless act of kindness and generosity from the donor and their family.

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