15 November 2019
News Category: 

At a presentation of the Congress of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement in Dubai, Emergency physician Dr Martin Dutch presented results on a training program changing lives.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) has successfully trained staff to have donor conversations with families and loved ones, which has seen an increase in donations.

It was found that lots of staff were initiating these conversations without training.

In collaboration with DonateLife, the RMH made it compulsory for any staff involved in organ donation to undergo communication education.

RMH is a national leading centre for organ donation, with one in every three donors in Victoria being a patient from the RMH.

Associate Professor Chris Macisaac, Director of ICU, said that RMH’s high level of organ donors could be attributed to the RMH Best Practice Model for Organ Donation.

“The RMH Model includes important practices such as ensuring discussions with family regarding end of life care are separate from discussions about organ donation”

“It has been so successful that in 2018, then-State Minister for Health, The Hon. Jill Hennessy announced that DonateLife processes developed at RMH ICU will be rolled out to all Victorian Hospitals,” A/Prof MacIsaac said.

In 2018, 59 patients of the RMH Intensive Care Unit generously went on to assist a record 197 Australians.

This year alone there have been 16 organ donors through the hospital, whose donations have gone on to help 52 recipients.

“I think it’s a combination of hospitals getting busier and that we’re getting better at communicating with families during the worst time of their lives,” Senior Emergency Department Consultant and Medical Donation Specialist, Dr Martin Dutch, said.

“We’re one of the leading hospitals when it comes to adopting national best practice when discussing organ donation with families.”

RMH’s consent rate for organ donation in 2018 was 78 per cent, compared to the Victorian average of 68 per cent and the national average of 64 per cent.

This equates to an extra 93 donated organs, with 176 organs transplanted in a record year for the hospital last year.

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