Cornwall Ontario — Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is proud to join Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) in working to save lives through organ and tissue donation. As a partner in Ontario’s Routine Notification program, CCH is required to report every impending patient death to TGLN so that their specially trained staff can identify potential donors and approach families to re-affirm consent.
“One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and transform as many as 75 others, explains Janice Beitel, Director of Hospital Programs, Education and Professional Practice and Education at TGLN. “Just one more donor can mean everything for the family of someone on the waiting list. The hospitals joining us in implementing Routine Notification are helping us to save lives.”
Right now in Ontario there are more than 1,500 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Every three days one of these people will die waiting because the call saying that a transplant match is available didn’t come in time. There are two ways to address this issue: register more of the public as potential organ and tissue donors and then be sure that every prospective donor is identified.
The reality is that the opportunity for organ donation is rare. While all of us have the potential to be an organ and/or tissue donor, you are five times more likely to need an organ transplant during your lifetime than you will have the opportunity to donate one. On average, only 2-3% of hospital deaths occur in circumstances that will permit a person to become an organ donor, which means it is crucial that hospital staff be familiar with the criteria a person must meet to be an organ donor and know when the call to an organ procurement organization must be made.
In late 2010, the Auditor General of Ontario recommended the expansion of Routine Notification to all hospitals with advanced ventilator capacity (necessary to maintain the viability of organs for transplant). In the past two years, TGLN has established the program in 18 additional Ontario hospitals with plans to welcome more into the fold as time goes on. Already, TGLN has seen an encouraging increase in the number of referrals from the new centres.
Specially trained coordinators in the Provincial Call Centre are the first point of contact for referrals from our hospital, allowing TGLN to immediately begin work to determine a patient’s eligibility for organ and tissue donation, which translates into reduced hospital wait times for on-site support services. Other initiatives, such as providing prepared policies, procedures and other tools in order to promote consistent practice, have also been put into place to reduce workload for hospital staff.
“Trillium Gift of Life Network has been a great support to CCH as we build a quality organ and tissue donation program,” says Heather Arthur, Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “With education resources for staff, hospital development coordinators offering advice and expertise and 24/7 access to a donation physician specialist for consultation, organ and tissue donation has become a priority in our facility.”
Please help CCH lead by example and register your consent for organ and tissue donation. Tuesday, June 18 will mark the official launch for this program at CCH where hospital staff will be promoting registration in an effort to raise the donor rate to meet and surpass the provincial average of 23 per cent. In almost all cases, families honour and respect their loved ones’ donation decision if they are given evidence that it’s what the donor wanted. If they are unsure or unaware of their loved one’s wishes, consent is given only 50% of the time.
If you want to be sure that your donation decision is registered please visit BeADonor.ca or register in person at a ServiceOntario centre.