In Australia donor families are provided with support through the National Donor Family Support Service. This service provides nationally consistent support that is respectful and responsive to the needs of each family.
Donor Family Support Coordinators are located in each state and territory DonateLife Agency. The Donor Family Support Coordinators provides information and assistance to support donor families after donation.
In the first month following donation, the DonateLife Donor Coordinator and/or the Donor Family Support Coordinator provide donor families with an information pack which includes support services available to them in their state or territory and anonymous details about the recipients.
If they wish, families receive ongoing support and are sent invitations to attend DonateLife Service of Remembrance held annually in their state or territory.
Donor Family Support Service
A National Donor Family Support Service has been established to provide support to families of organ and tissue donors before, during and after donation. Support is provided in a number of ways and will differ depending on your needs now and in the future.
A Donor Family Support Coordinator is available to support you and your family during your time of loss. They are there to listen; to provide information and reassurance and to answer any questions or concerns you might have. You might find it is helpful to talk to someone outside the immediate family. The service includes counselling or referral to local grief counsellors if preferred.
In the initial correspondence from the DonateLife Agency you will learn how many people have been helped through transplantation and how they are progressing. Families of donors and transplant recipients are both vulnerable and need time to heal and adjust to very different circumstances.
Although the identity of recipients cannot be revealed, the Donor Family Support Coordinator or Donation Specialist Coordinator is responsible for forwarding correspondence to you if that is your wish. Similarly, you may wish to write to recipients or respond to their letters through the same channels.
If in time you feel that this is something you would like to do, your Donor Family Support Coordinator will be able to help you.
In the future if you would like an update on the progress of the recipients this can be facilitated through the same channels. Updates are not provided routinely, as not all families wish to know if circumstance change over the years.
Commemorating organ and tissue donors
Over the years, DonateLife agencies throughout Australia have developed special ways of acknowledging the generosity of all organ and tissue donors and their families.
DonateLife Services of Remembrance
The purpose of the annual DonateLife Services of Remembrance are to provide a forum for acknowledgement of and gratitude to donors and their families. It is also an opportunity for all those touched by organ and tissue donation to meet with others whose lives have also been changed by this experience.
Donor Family Support Pin
This lapel pin has been specially designed for families of organ and tissue donors.
DonateLife Book of Life
The DonateLife Book of Life is a collection of stories from those who have been touched by organ and tissue donation. It is available in printed and online versions. The stories pay tribute to the generosity of lives tragically and abruptly ended. The Book of Life started its journey around Australia in DonateLife Week, February 2011. Due to its popularity it has become a permanent part of DonateLife resources and a place where donor and transplant stories can be told. The Book of Life can be accessed through the DonateLife website http://temp.donatelife.gov.au/
All contributors to the DonateLife Book of Life receive a complimentary copy of the volume in which their story is published. Click here for more information.
For further details on any of the above, please contact the DonateLife Agency in your state or territory.
Contact between donor families and recipients
Donor families and transplant recipients can write anonymous letters to each other through the DonateLife Agency and through transplant units. This process remains anonymous by law. Further information can be obtained by contacting DonateLife in your state or territory.