DonateLife Week (2 – 9 August 2015), Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation, will be launched locally at Orange Hospital on Monday 3 August.
Donation Specialist Sonia Braithwaite said DonateLife Week is a perfect time for people to have the chat that saves lives.
“DonateLife Week provides a timely reminder to all Australians of the need to discuss their donation decision with loved ones,” she said.
“Family discussion around donation decisions is vital. The majority of families say that having discussed and knowing the donation decision of their loved one made it much easier to support donation proceeding if that is their wish”.
She said families play a crucial role in the donation process because they are asked to support the donation decision of their loved one.
“Families rarely decline donation if they know the deceased’s wishes; it is usually when they don’t know that they struggle with what to do, and this is one of the main reasons families decline donation,” Ms Braithwaite said.
“Families that have discussed and know each other’s donation decisions almost always say yes, and they often gain comfort from knowing they are upholding the wishes of the deceased.
Only around 1% of people die in hospital in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible. However, many more people can become eye and tissue donors as tissues can be donated up to 24 hours after death regardless of where death occurred.
“While the possibility of organ donation is quite small, one organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people,” Ms Braithwaite said.
The launch will include a viewing of a new Aboriginal art work at Orange Community Health, which has been donated to coincide with Donate Life Week to assist in promoting organ donation to different cultural groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“This wonderful artwork has been donated by Simone Press, daughter of the late Joanne Reid, who was a well-known local indigenous artist,” Ms Braithwaite said.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to display the piece in the hospital for all to enjoy and reflect upon”.
Once people have decided about organ and tissue donation, they should register their decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and most importantly, have the chat with their loved ones about their decision.
For more information visit www.donatelife.gov.au.