Muskoka hospitals formalize protocols for gifts of life organ donation
MUSKOKA – Want to give the gift that keeps on giving, this Christmas?
Do something that will keep the holiday spirit alive year-round.
Sign up to donate your organs – if you haven’t already.
With many people and their families opting for cremation, the choice to donate all or any one of your organs is a practical option.
Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare has joined the ranks of 55 hospitals across the province working to increase organ and tissue donations by becoming a hospital designated under the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) Act, says a new release from MAHC.
By implementing a formal program, we hope that more people will become organ and tissue donors and more lives will be saved through donation, explains Dr. Jan Goossens, Chief of Staff at MAHC. Over the past five years, 11 people in the area serviced by MAHC have received a life-saving organ transplant.
“Although we have had some policies and procedures in place around organ donation, this partnership with the Trillium Gift of Life Network provides us with a formal program, enhanced policies and procedures and a routine notification screening process to determine a patient’s eligibility to donate,” says Dr. Goossens.
TGLN is the provincial agency that plans, promotes, coordinates and supports organ and tissue donation and transplantation across Ontario. Being a designated hospital under the TGLN Act means every patient care unit across both of MAHC’s hospital sites is required to notify the Network to report patient deaths and imminent deaths to determine if there is potential for organ or tissue donation.
“By becoming a designated hospital with TGLN, we hope to raise awareness of the need and encourage more people to register as donors,” adds Dr. Goossens. “The need is evident locally where 11 people in the North Simcoe Muskoka area are on a wait list for organs. And even with strong organ donation consent registration rates in our communities of Bracebridge at 41%, Gravenhurst at 36% and Huntsville at 40%, we can always inspire more people to consider giving the gift of life by registering as an organ and tissue donor.”
A series of education sessions have occurred at the hospitals to provide staff and physicians with an understanding of how the notification process works and their role in the process. MAHC reports the death or imminent death, and discussions with patients and families about organ and tissue donation are handled by specially-trained TGLN staff.
An online Be A Donor registration campaign drive, spearheaded by MAHC, is also underway to raise awareness at the two hospital sites and in the community about the need for organ and tissue donors.
“We want to lead by example and do our part to help raise awareness, so we’re asking our staff and physicians in Bracebridge and Huntsville to consider registering their consent for organ and tissue donation,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer at MAHC. “We’re also asking them to ask their friends and family to register as well. Please visit our Be A Donor registration drive webpage and help give the gift of life by becoming an organ and tissue donor today.”
One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance as many as 75 lives through tissue donation. With 1,500 men, women and children on a wait list for organ donations in Ontario, MAHC is proud to be part of a program that enables every Ontarian to make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation and supports health care professionals in implementing those decisions.
To record your consent in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Registered Persons Database in Ontario, you must register online through the Be A Donor website, in-person at any ServiceOntario centre, or by filling out a Gift of Life consent form and mailing it in. This ensures that your donation decision is accessible when needed. You are also encouraged to share your wishes with your family to relieve them of the burden at the time of death.
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