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Research project: What are the barriers to organ donation and the factors that impact the decision of the bereaved family to give consent to organ donation?

Currently Active: 

Currently there are approximately 10,000 people in the UK who could benefit from organ transplantation (NHBT 2011).  However due to a lack of donated organs 1,000 of these individuals will die each year (NHSBT 2011) and the others will be forced to lead lives severely compromised by their organ failure and the uncertainty of organ availability (Sque et al. 2010).

Aims of the study

In the case of bereaved families who had donation discussed with them:

  • To understand if the circumstances surrounding death, and the certification of death (e.g. cardiac or neurological) influence the decision to donate.
  • To elicit what family members understand about brain stem testing and death certified by brain stem criteria
  • To gain insight into family members' conceptualisation of organ donation, e.g. is it a ‘gift' or a ‘sacrifice'
  • To understand if the timing of the approach and discussion about donation made an impact on the decision and if there is an appropriate time for this discussion to take place
  • To explore if families felt their information needs about organ donation and bereavement were met and if not, what was missing
  • To explore the role of young people and children in the decision-making process concerning organ donation
  • To explore families' experiences of, and attitudes to donation after cardiac death
  • To elicit the views of families who consented to donation, on any public or private recognition of the donor's contribution and their decision.


Department of Health

Project team

Sque M [PI], Morgan M, Randhawa G, Warrens A, Long-Sutehall T.


Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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