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Organ and Tissue Donation: Enhancing Communication with Families

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A physician education program entitled “Organ and Tissue Donation: Enhancing Communication with Families” was developed by the New York Alliance for Donation, The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), and The Michael Carnevale Foundation. In addition, the New York Organ Donor Network, the New Jersey Sharing Network, the New York State Department of Health, Dr. Jeffrey Oppenheimer, neurosurgeon and former Alliance Board member, Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu, Deputy Surgeon General of the United States, and Jean Carnevale, MSN, RN provided critical support.

This program has MSSNY approval for one credit hour of continuing medical education without charge.

The program is in CD-ROM format and is designed to assist healthcare providers in developing communication strategies when they are faced with the difficult task of speaking to the family of a potential organ donor. The role of the physician is critical to the success of organ donation. A physician’s conversation with the family of a patient ensures that the family is given an opportunity to be well informed about donation.

To this end, the following learning objectives are covered:

  • The major current problems and issues in the donor requesting process;
  • Both appropriate and inappropriate terminology relating to the donation process;
  • The role of the healthcare team and the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) in the donation process and donor management;
  • The educational and communication needs of a potential donor family both during the process of brain death declaration and at the time of donation discussion; and
  • The best practices of a consistent and collaborative approach by the healthcare team when discussing donation with potential donor families.

During July 2004 ten thousand copies of the CD-ROM were mailed directly to both adult and pediatric neurologists, neurosurgeons, trauma, critical care and emergency medicine specialists in New York State. The second stage of distribution will be to the Medical Schools and Residency programs in New York State. In addition, the recovery organizations in New York undertook a special initiative to provide Grand Rounds at their respective hospitals using this program.

Through these mechanisms the Alliance and MSSNY are evaluating the impact of the education and using that information to continue distribution and marketing through 2008 when the continuing medical education expires.

Click here to learn more about MSSNY and this CME course.