Organ donation a hard conversation

WIDE Bay-Burnett region residents believe it is easier to talk to their children about sex than about organ and tissue donation, a new survey shows.

The survey was taken late last year by DonateLife, which manages all aspects of organ and tissue donation across Australia.

Bundaberg Hospital Intensive Care Unit nurse Karen Stumer, who is also the local clinical nurse consultant on organ and tissue donation for DonateLife Queensland, said families needed to know each other’s wishes about the subject.

“(Under the old system), even if an individual was registered as a donor, your next of kin was still asked to give consent for donation to take place,” Ms Stumer said.

“The Wide Bay-Burnett results showed when it comes to having the hardest conversation, breaking up (43%), talking about putting a loved one in aged care (25%), discussing sex with the kids (15%) and discussing your will (13%) were all ahead of discussing organ and tissue donation (3%),” Ms Stumer said.

Next week, starting tomorrow, is Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week, and Ms Stumer said displays focusing on the importance of organ and tissue donation would be organised at Bundaberg Hospital.

She said more than 1700 Australians were waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and more than one person would die every week waiting for their transplant.

Ms Stumer said Australia had one of the highest transplantation success rates in the world.

Kidney transplant survival rates were about 90% in the first year and more than 75% in five years.

Ms Stumer said residents could check or update their organ donor registration by phoning 1800 777 203 or visiting their local Medicare office.

For more information about the Australian Organ Donor Register, or to register your decision, go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au.



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