Communication key to saving lives

THE WESTERN NSW Local Health District (LHD) reports that miscommunication within families is standing in the way of organ and tissue donations.

During DonateLife Week 2013 it is urging potential donors to make their decision well known.

"This is because in Australia the family of every potential donor is always asked to confirm the donation wishes of their loved one before organ and/or tissue donation can proceed," the LHD's new donation specialist nurse Sonia Braithwaite said.

"We are urging all Australians to take time during DonateLife Week to discover, decide and discuss organ and tissue donation so that your family can make your wish count should they ever be asked to confirm your donation wish."

Statistics suggest that better communication could bump up donations.

Although 77 per cent of Australians have now talked about organ and tissue donation with their families, and 71 per cent of people believe their families know their donation wishes, only 56 per cent of Australians say they know the donation wishes of their loved ones.

Ellie McCann of the NSW Organ and Tissue Authority said DonateLife Week made donations "OK to talk about" for people reluctant to broach the issue.

"Any day this week is a good day to have the conversation with your family and close friends," she said.

"It's a conversation that will help you be prepared, should you ever be asked to confirm a loved one's donation wishes. It will also help your family be prepared should they ever be asked to confirm your wishes.

"It's a conversation that could one day save lives."

DonateLife Week is led by the authority and ends Sunday March 3. For more information go to www.donatelife.gov.au.

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