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Transplant Proc. 2013 Jan-Feb;45(1):10-2. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.10.021.

Communication and consent: discussion and organ donation decisions for self and family.

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1
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Organ transplantation is a significant medical advancement. However, number of individuals registering as donors and next-of-kin's refusal to grant consent are notable limitations on the availability of organs for transplantation. Therefore, investigation into factors that influence willingness to donate and consent decisions is warranted. We examined the relationship between attitudes and family communication in relation to consent decisions for self and family member organ donation (OD). Data were collected from students at an Australian university and individuals from the wider community (N = 267).

METHOD:

Participants completed an on-line survey composed of questions relating to demographic information, questionnaires from previous research, and several single items relating to family communication and consent created specifically for the study. The main outcome measure was participants' willingness to consent to OD for themselves or for a family member.

RESULTS:

Attitudes and prior discussion of OD were predictive of registration and willingness to consent. Positive attitudes were also related to previous conversations regarding OD. A more open level of communication within families was associated with an increased tendency to discuss OD, but was not directly related to consent decisions.

CONCLUSION:

Findings reiterate the importance of promoting positive attitudes within the community and specific, informed discussion within families. The positive influence these factors exert on next-of-kin decisions may be vital to maximize donation rates in opt-in systems (such as Australia).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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