More Young Australians Must Start With the Discussion About Donation Wishes
It was vital that apparent barriers to young adults deciding about organ and tissue donation were quickly removed, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, said during DonateLife Week.
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The Hon Catherine King MP21 February, 2012
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing
Sharon Grierson MP
Federal Member for Newcastle
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, today said it was vital that apparent barriers to young adults deciding about organ and tissue donation are quickly removed.
Ms King was releasing new research highlighting the need for young Australians to ask and know the donation wishes of family members during DonateLife Week (19-26 February).
“Young adults aged 18-29 years are still experiencing barriers to discussing and deciding about organ and tissue donation,” Ms King said.
“These barriers include misplaced concerns that doctors won’t work as hard to save their lives.”
Ms King will outline results of the new research during a visit to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital today with Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson.
The research, commissioned by the Organ and Tissue Authority, focused on the attitudes of 18-29 year olds on organ and tissue donation.
“The majority of 18-29 year olds (84%) cite the chance to save a life as the key motivation to decide about becoming an organ and tissue donor, and 79% indicated that their religious or cultural beliefs would not be a barrier to deciding about organ and tissue donation.
“Alarmingly, 40% of 18-29 year olds are concerned that their family would not want them to become an organ and tissue donor.
“DonateLife Week provides an opportunity for young adults, and for all Australians, to sit down and talk openly about their wishes regarding organ and tissue donation. Every family needs to ask and know each other’s donation wishes because donation will not proceed without the family’s confirmation of the deceased’s wishes”.
Earlier research commissioned by the Organ and Tissue Authority indicated that there had been a 15% increase in discussion rates (from 44% to 59%) with 18-29 year olds since the launch of the DonateLife campaign in May 2010. However, 41% of 18-29 year olds have not discussed their donation wishes with family members.
Increased family knowledge of each other’s donation wishes is a critical element of national efforts aimed at increasing organ and tissue donation rates in Australia.
Ms King is visiting the John Hunter Hospital with Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson, during DonateLife Week to acknowledge the hospital’s important role in contributing to increased organ and tissue donation for transplantation in Australia.
“The John Hunter Hospital is in a small group of hospitals across Australia that achieved 10 or more organ donors in 2011, representing 13% of all NSW organ donors last year,” Ms Grierson said.
“In 2011, the John Hunter Hospital and the Royal North Shore Hospital were the leading hospitals in New South Wales for donation outcomes.
“It is great that the Parliamentary Secretary is visiting the John Hunter Hospital to personally thank the hospital and its staff, as well as the generous families who consented to their loved one becoming a donor and, in doing so, saving and improving the lives of others," Ms Grierson said.
“Registering your decision can be done simply by visiting your local Medicare office, visiting www.donatelife.gov.au or by phoning the Australian Organ Donor Registry on 1800 777 203,” Ms Grierson said.
In 2011 Australia achieved its highest organ donation rate of 337 deceased organ donors and its highest transplant recipient outcome of 1,001 transplant recipients since national records began.
"At the end of the second full year of the national reform agenda, one in five transplant recipients (or an additional 202) can be attributed directly to the increase in organ donors. In 2009, there were 799 transplant recipients compared with 1,001 in 2011," Ms King said.
"There is much more to be done to not only sustain but build on the increases in donation outcomes in Australia. During DonateLife Week, we can all play our part and have a conversation with our loved ones that could one day save a life," Ms King said.
For more information contact Ms King’s office – 02 62774230
Young Adult Research FindingsFindings include
- 84% of Australians aged 18-29 say that the chance to save a life is the key motivation to decide to become an organ and tissue donor.
- 79% of Australians aged 18-29 say that their religious or cultural beliefs would not be a concern for them when deciding about being an organ and tissue donor.
- 40% of Australians aged 18-29 are concerned that their family would not want them to become an organ and tissue donor.
- One in two (53%) of Australians aged 18-29 are concerned that doctors might not try as hard to save their lives if they had decided to become an organ and tissue donor.
- 49% of Australians aged 18-29 are concerned that their bodies will be disfigured by organ and tissue donation.
- 63% of Australians aged 18-29 say that knowing the wishes of their deceased loved one would help them to make a decision about them becoming an organ and tissue donor.
- 47% of Australians aged 18-29 say that they would be prompted by seeing something in the media to have a conversation about organ and tissue donation with their families.
- 33% of Australians aged 18-29 say that they would be prompted by discussing donation with friends to have a conversation about organ and tissue donation.
In January 2012 the Organ and Tissue Authority commissioned Research Now to conduct research with a nationally representative sample of 1000 people aged 18-29 regarding their attitudes towards issues associated with organ and tissue donation.
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