Why community specialist practitioner district nurses should promote tissue donation

Alker, Claire (2021) Why community specialist practitioner district nurses should promote tissue donation. British Journal of Community Nursing, 26 (6). pp. 296-301. ISSN 1462-4753

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.12968/bjcn.2021.26.6.296


A high proportion of patients are being supported with end-of-life (EoL) care in the community, many of which are known to district nursing (DN) caseloads. Over time, community specialist practitioner district nursing (CSPDN) teams build therapeutic relationships with patients, and they are adept at providing EoL care. They are also now actively and routinely undertaking verification of death (VoD). Thus, they are in a prime position to promote and facilitate community tissue donation among patients and their families. The Government has recognised a need to promote organ and tissue donation, implementing the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act (2019) , whereby every person over the age of 18 years is now considered for organ and tissue donation with the anticipation of more recipients receiving life-changing tissue transplantation. DN teams seem to lack awareness of the change in law and, therefore, are not actively promoting this in practice. Further, there is no available community-focused guidance or training to support DNs to have these difficult and complex conversations enabling exploration of patients' wishes with regard to promote tissue donation. Therefore, guidance and education are needed in order to improve overall referrals, in the hope that they lead to an increase in donation.

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