Organ Donation Follow up

An important aspect of the role of the Specialist Nurse – Organ Donation (SN-OD) is care of the donor family, both prior to and after donation has taken place. The SN-OD will ensure that the family have information regarding all aspects of the donation process that they need to make an informed decision. This is carried out in conjunction with the critical care medical and nursing staff caring for the patient.

Important principles:

The families of all potential organ donors have the right to discuss the option of donation with a SN-OD.
All potential donor families have the right to have their cultural, religious, spiritual beliefs and emotional needs acknowledged.
Donor families (within the bounds of anonymity and confidentiality) should be offered choices about the nature of the feedback and follow-up that will be provided by the SN-OD.
At the time of consent and authorisation, families will receive verbal information from the SN-OD regarding:

  • The full donation process / procedure.
  • Viewing their relatives after donation if they wish.
  • Any last offices request – either for the family to be involved or to be carried out by the SN-OD which may include:
  • Hand / foot prints.
  • Locks of hair for family members.
  • To dress the patient in specific clothing if required.

Written Information offered should include:

  • Local donor hospital information / bereavement booklets.
  • Relevant NHSBT information booklets.
  • Donating families will also be offered a copy of the consent / authorisation form.
  • Post Donation

Every family is offered:

  • A telephone call from the SN-OD following donation which allows the SN-OD to confirm to the family which organs / tissue were donated.
  • Families are offered contact via a letter within two weeks of the donation. The timing and content of this letter is discussed and agreed during the donation discussion.
  • Recipient information / letters.
  • Cards or letters can be passed on to the family from the recipient (via recipient transplant coordinator and SN-OD) should they wish to write and the donating family wish to receive correspondence.
  • An invitation to take part in any local donor family activity i.e. Annual Remembrance Services.

Service Evaluation

In order to assess and monitor the quality of services that are provided by Specialist Nurses – Organ Donation (SN-ODs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs) employed by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), regular service evaluations are undertaken with the families of organ and/or tissue donors, and with healthcare professionals at donating hospitals. Service evaluation is essential in gaining feedback to ensure we provide a high quality, safe, responsive and consistent service nationally.

The outcome of service evaluation is invaluable in identifying changes to care that are required to reflect the information and other priorities for action.

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