North Devon nurses support appeal for families to have a lifesaving talk during Organ Donation Week

Nurses from Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust are proudly supporting Organ Donation Week. On Saturday, nursing staff were in Green Lanes Shopping Centre in Barnstaple encouraging people to talk about organ donation.

On 15 September, nurses from the intensive care unit will be cycling from Barnstaple to Instow on bikes donated by Tarka Trail Cycle Hire. They will be carrying leaflets, wearing t-shirts about organ donation and raising awareness.

During the week (September 4 to 10), NHS Blood and Transplant, hospitals, charities and supporters of organ donation are encouraging people across the UK to talk about organ donation with their relatives and friends. This way, if you are ever able to be an organ donor, your family won’t be left with making a difficult decision without knowing what you wanted.

Sarah Fuller, organ donation specialist nurse at the Trust, said: “We’re proud to support this lifesaving appeal and were delighted to be able to raise awareness of it in Green Lanes Shopping Centre.

“It’s really easy for everyone to take part – just have a chat. That chat might be the next time you sit down for a meal, when you are shopping or working, or when you are just driving in the car. If you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead, even if you are on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

Alison Tollafield, ICU nurse, with the stand at Green Lanes shopping centre

Over the last year, 71 people in Devon received lifesaving or life changing transplants. However, in March 2017, 102 people in Devon were on the waiting list for a transplant. Hundreds of transplants are being missed around the country every year because families don’t know what their relative wanted.

NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it.

Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride from knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are really grateful for the Trust’s support because hundreds of lives are being lost every year.

“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant?  Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives.  A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.”

Facts about the Organ Donor Card

  • An Organ Donor Card is a great way to show you’re committed to saving lives.
  • You can carry your card in your purse or wallet as a symbol of your decision to help others.
  • However, you don’t need to carry an organ donor card for your organs to be donated though as medical staff will always consult the NHS Organ Donor Register if your organs could be used to help others when you die.
  • Before the removal of organs takes place, NHS Blood and Transplant would ask your family to support your decision to donate and to provide important information about you.

Share your decision

  • If you are signed up as a donor and have a donor card, please remember to tell your family and make clear to them that you want them to help honour your decision if you can donate when you die. Ask them if they want to be organ donors too.
  • You can use your donor card to encourage others to sign up as organ donors. Many people say #YesIDonate by sharing pictures of themselves proudly holding their card on social media. It’s something quick and easy you can do to tell your family and friends that you want to donate your organs while helping to spread the word about the importance of organ donation.

Who receives a donor card

We send an Organ Donor Card to everybody who registers to donate for the first time. If you amend your details or re-register we don’t send you a new donor card.

Some people who have signed up as donors may never have received an organ donor card as they first registered before we started sending out a card to people who registered for the first time.

Ordering a replacement card

If you have mislaid your donor card and would like a replacement, or have registered but never received a card and would like one, contact the Organ Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23.

Posted in News.

Last updated: March 6, 2018