Organ & tissue donation

Exploration of hospice workers' knowledge of, and attitude towards, organ and tissue donation.


Organ & tissue donation

This study used focus groups and questionnaires to:

  • Explore the knowledge and understanding health care professionals, working at LOROS, have of organ and tissue donation.

  • Explore how they felt about discussing such issues with terminally ill patients and their families.

  • Identify the barriers and enablers to discussing organ donation with patients.

  • Understand how the knowledge staff have about organ donation impacts on this aspect of care.

Funder: Association for Palliative Medicine & LOROS


The barriers to discussing tissue and organ donation are multiple and dependant on both the knowledge and attitudes of hospice staff.

  • Staff do not feel they have enough knowledge to initiate discussions about organ and tissue donation, specifically knowledge about who can donate what, what the tissue is used for and how to go about the process of donating.

  • Those staff with more knowledge were more likely to discuss donation with patients as were those with more years of experience and those who had discussed donation of their own organs or tissues with their own family.

  • Staff describe the process as frustrating and wonder if it is worthwhile. They feel the conversation will be distressing for patients and to be told that they can only donate their corneas, and only if they die in the hospice itself will be viewed as ‘a further loss'.

  • Establishing the patients’ wishes regarding tissue and organ donation is not seen as a priority, but staff are concerned that maybe more patients want to donate but do not because the subject has never arisen.

  • Some feel that they could discuss the subject more and that the conversation is comparable with determining preferred place of death.

Project Team

Professor Christina Faull, LOROS
Dr Jane Wale (PI) LOROS and now Milton Keynes Hospital Professor Tony Arthur, University of Nottingham
Kay Phelps, University of Leicester


Wale J, Arthur A, Faull C, 2013. An analysis of knowledge and attitudes of hospice staff towards organ and tissue donation. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2012-000416

Wale J, Arthur A, Phelps K, Faull C, 2012. Knowledge of Organ and Tissue Donation within the Hospice Environment BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care 2: A32 doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2012-000196.92

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