Taking Care of Relationships in the Intensive Care Unit: Positive Impact on Family Consent for Organ Donation.

Research paper by M G MG Bocci, C C D'Alò, R R Barelli, S S Inguscio, A A Prestifilippo, S S Di Paolo, S S Lochi, M M Fanfarillo, D L DL Grieco, R R Maviglia, A A Caricato, G G Mistraletti, S S Pulitanò, M M Antonelli, C C Sandroni

Indexed on: 10 Dec '16Published on: 10 Dec '16Published in: Transplantation Proceedings


Organ donation refusal from relatives of potential donors with brain death significantly reduces organ availability. The need for organ donation has increased over time, but the shortage of available donors is the major limiting factor in transplantation. We analyzed the impact of a new systematic communication approach between medical staff and patients' relatives on the rate of consent to organ donation.The study was conducted as a single-center, non-randomized, controlled, before-and-after study at an 18-bed intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital. We compared the rate of consent for organ donation before and after the introduction of the new communication approach.A total of 291 brain-dead patients were studied. The consent rate increased from 71% in the pre-intervention period (2007-2012) to 78.4% in the post-intervention period (2013-2015), with an 82.75% increase in the 2014 to 2015 period. During these periods, no significant variation of consent to organ donation was recorded at the national and regional levels.The introduction of a new communication approach between medical staff and relatives of brain-dead patients was associated with a significant increase in the rate of consent to donation. Our results highlight the importance of empathy with relatives in the ICU.