Advocate the wishes of the potential donor and their family
The DonateLife ACT team’s role is to work closely with families faced with the death oftheir loved one when donation is being considered. The medical specialist and Organ and Tissue Donor Coordinator provide information to assist families to make a decision that reflects their loved one’s wishes and what is ‘right for them’.
Facilitate the organ and tissue donation process
The team supports the donor family following the decision to donate, throughout the time that is required to arrange for the specialist medical staff to attend the hospital to perform the donation surgery and after the donation surgery is complete. The Organ and Tissue Donor Coordinator also collects the information required for the transplant teams and surgery.
Provide bereavement support and follow up
Continuing care, recognition and support is offered to help families of those who have donated organs and/or tissue and are provided with a 24 hour support contact number.
Families sometimes wish to see their loved one following the donation surgery and the Organ and Tissue Donor Coordinator facilitates this process. Following the donation surgery the Organ and Tissue Donor Coordinator will contact the family (as arranged with the family) and let them know the outcomes of transplantation. Privacy laws protect all individuals involved. Donor Families and transplant recipients can write anonymous letters through DonateLife ACT.
DonateLife ACT includes rose lapel pins as part of the follow-up care package that is sent to families touched by donation. The pins are presented to all families of organ and tissue donors in Australia who have affirmed the wish of their loved one to donate.
Sean Dicks is the Donor Family Support Officer.
Provide staff support
The DonateLife team provides ongoing support to the healthcare workers involved in donation processes.
Provide health and community education
The DonateLife team works with Non government organisations and a team of Volunteers to ensure appropriate education and awareness in the ACT and region. The team has close working relationships with key stakeholder groups,(Gift Of Life Inc, Transplant Australia ACT, Eurobodalla Renal Support Group and the Heart and Lung Association.
DonateLife ACT has established a connection with quilting associations in Canberra and the region who provide individually crafted quilts for organ donors and their families. The coloured quilts soften the clinical environment, and allow the family to sense the gratitude and warmth felt by the community for their generosity. Families are provided with the quilt when they leave the hospital as an ongoing reminder of the gratitude of our community. This program is entirely reliant on the continued generosity of quilters.
Donation to Medical Science
Donation for science is handled directly by Universities. You will need to contact your local University to ask about their arrangements. For ACT residents, you can find out more about body, organ and tissue donation for medical teaching by visiting the website: www.medicalschool.anu.edu.au