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An analysis of knowledge and attitudes of hospice staff towards organ and tissue donation
  1. J Wale1,
  2. A Arthur2 and
  3. C Faull3
  1. 1Palliative Care Team, Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK
  2. 2School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  3. 3LOROS, Hospice Care for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jane Wale, Palliative Care Team, Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Standing Way, Eaglestone, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK6 5LD, UK; janewale{at}


Background Only a minority of hospice patients eligible to donate tissue and organs choose to do so. Hospice care staff play a key role in discussions about donation, but their willingness to engage in these discussions and their understanding of issues around tissue and organ donation is poorly understood.

Aims To (i) identify factors associated with the wish of hospice doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants to donate their own organs after death; (ii) survey the experience of discussing the subject with patients; (iii) determine staff members’ knowledge of organ and tissue donation and (iv) identify factors associated with knowledge of organ and tissue donation.

Design Cross-sectional questionnaire survey of hospice care staff.

Setting/participants 76 of the 94 care staff of one large UK hospice completed and returned the questionnaire.

Results Staff wishing to donate their organs after death (43/76 56.6%) were more likely to be doctors or nurses than healthcare assistants (p=0.011) and more likely to have discussed organ or tissue donation with their family (p<0.001). Staff reporting ever having discussed donation with patients had more years’ experience (p=0.045) and had similarly discussed donation with their own family (p=0.039). Those with greater knowledge were more likely to have discussed organ or tissue donation with a patient (p=0.042).

Conclusions A reluctance to instigate discussions about organ and tissue donation may prevent palliative patients and their families being allowed the opportunity to donate. Suboptimal knowledge among hospice staff suggests the need for greater liaison between hospice staff, and the organ and tissue donation teams.

  • Hospice care
  • Communication
  • tissue donation
  • organ donation

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