The discussion surrounding organ and tissue donation is part of the continuum of care for a family walking through the process of losing their loved one. At LifeCenter Northwest, our focus is on making this discussion as supportive as possible for the family, and ensuring the patient’s wishes are honored. This discussion is a common pain point in the process, as there are many factors to take into account, including: timing, logistics, family dynamics, ethical considerations, and donor registry status.
CMS and The Joint Commission both require that this conversation must be initiated by the donation agency, and recommends that the care team and agency collaborate together to determine the best possible plan for each patient and family. When our teams work together to plan this conversation in advance, we know it’s better for the family, and significantly impacts the donation authorization rate for your hospital.
What can you do?
· Administrators: Take an active interest in your hospital’s performance, including the Collaborative Request Rate. This is the measure of how often donation conversations are happening with your families in the most effective way possible, and something you may be asked about during site visits from CMS, TJC and the DOH.
· Managers: Work with your designated Hospital Development Program Manager to provide education regarding the donation discussion to your department.
· Bedside Staff: Proactively consider how you might talk about next steps with a family, without bringing up donation. We have some great suggestions to start with here.
· Support Staff: When there is a death, or if you are aware of LCNW following a potential organ donor, help us remind those involved that the donation discussion needs to be planned with the donation agency prior to any mention to the family.