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Exploring organ donation with bereaved relatives: healthcare professional's experiences in 3 European countries.

Neades, Barbara Louise


Barbara Louise Neades


W Weimar

M A Bos

J J Busschbach


Bereaved families are the crucial link in obtaining
organs for donation and are involved in the organ
donation decision making process. The challenges of
requesting organ donation from relatives have been
widely documented often resulting in organs for donation
being lost (Scottish Transplant Group, 2002; Sque
et al., 2008). Despite this, a study of the Healthcare
Professionals (HCP’s) experiences with relatives in
the decision to donate organs in 3 European countries
(n = 42) using a phenomenological methodology
(Heidegger 1962 ; Gadamer 1989), demonstrated that
the family involvement in the organ donation decision
making process was vital, even in countries where legislation
allowed the removal of organs for transplant
if no objection had been recorded by the deceased
(Neades, 2008). Analysis of this data demonstrated
not only were there different levels of education for the
HCP’s requesting donation and different protocols of
practice in use for the approach to relatives at this difficult
time, but in addition, the HCP’s discussed their
own views on the benefits and challenges of involving
relatives in the decision to proceed to organ donation.
The HCP reflections on their experiences in exploring
organ donation with relatives not only described
the reaction of relatives to the news of the impending
death of their family member but in addition provided
insights into the beliefs, attitudes and values of the
HCP in relation to requesting organ donation. This
paper summarises the experiences of these 3 groups of
HCP’s in their efforts to balance the need to respect the
wishes of the dead in relation to donating their organ
with their professional responsibilities to support the
bereaved relatives and the factors which would influence
their decision to proceed or decline to proceed to
organ donation.

Conference Name International Congress ‘Ethical, Legal, and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation. Global Issues, Local Solutions
Start Date Apr 20, 2013
End Date Apr 23, 2013
Publication Date 2014
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 7, 2015
Publisher Pabst Science Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Book Title Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation: Global Issues Local Solutions
ISBN 978-3-89967-931-1
Keywords Organ donation; bereaved relatives; healthcare professional;
Public URL
Contract Date Apr 7, 2015


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