Best Practice Guideline for Offering Organ and Tissue Donation in Australia

The purpose of the Best Practice Guideline for Offering Organ and Tissue Donation in Australia (the Guideline) is to outline the preferred approach to be taken for all potentially suitable organ donors.

This includes early consultation with, or referral to DonateLife, provision of specialist support to the family, team planning, a collaborative approach to plan and conduct family donation conversations, and team debriefing to review practice.

The term ‘FDC Trained Specialist’ is used throughout the Guideline to describe the donation specialist role that provides additional expertise in supporting and informing families in end-of-life decision-making related to organ and tissue donation. 

The key principle of the Guideline is to involve an FDC Trained Specialist in every conversation when donation is first discussed with the family of all potential organ donors. This enables them to share their donation expertise with the clinical team and provide information to the family in a sensitive, respectful manner when discussing the opportunity of donation.

This key principle is one of eight elements outlined in the Guideline which provides guidance to health professionals about goals of family communication, staff roles and responsibilities, timing and elements of the family donation conversation, training requirements and review of practice.

Widespread awareness and adoption of the Guideline’s key elements in DonateLife hospitals will support health professionals involved in the family donation conversation process and ensure all potential donor families are provided with access to a suitably trained clinician and donation specialist during the end-of-life care of their family member. 

The Guideline has been developed in consultation with the DonateLife Clinical Governance Committee and professional bodies - the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society, College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand and the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine.


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