Background There is a national shortage of approximately 500 corneas per year that could be used for sight restoring transplants (NHS Blood and Transplant). 51% of the UK adult population state that they would be willing to donate some/all of their organs when they die (NHS Blood and Transplant, 2013). Evidence shows it can bring great comfort to bereaved families.
We recognised the importance that people are given the opportunity to donate their corneas. In April 2018, as part of the hospice’s admissions process, an initial screening questionnaire assessing both eligibility and clinical appropriateness (those not actively dying or deemed to lack capacity) was developed. An initial audit was completed in June 2018 which demonstrated only 8% (5/66) of people admitted to hospice had a discussion about corneal donation.
Aim To increase awareness of corneal donation and the opportunity to donate.
Method Following the initial audit, appropriate changes were made to the initial screening questionnaire. The medical team were provided with training and education to enable them to complete the necessary assessment with the aim of increasing the discussions around corneal donation upon admission. Over a nine month period we re-audited the care plans of those admitted.
People admitted to hospice=241;
Initial screening questionnaire completed=62 (26%);
People eligible with no contraindications=40;
People who were deemed clinically appropriate=29;
People who agreed to be a donor=16;
People who donated their corneas after death=5.
Conclusion There is an improvement on assessment for corneal donation from 8% to 26%. We will continue to provide education and training to encourage more initial screening questionnaires to be completed to ensure that people can engage in these conversations where appropriate. We need to explore the factors where corneal donation is agreed but does not happen.