Do Patients Want to Talk to their Physicians about Organ Donation? Attitudes and Knowledge about Organ Donation: A Study of Orange County, California Residents.

Saub EJ, Shapiro J, Radecki S.

This study surveyed Orange County, California residents to determine their attitudes and knowledge about organ donation and in particular to determine what factors influence the decision to donate one’s organs upon death. Respondents were recruited from the Orange County Superior Court jury pool (N = 378). Each completed a 44 item questionnaire. Findings from the analysis of Questionnaire Data reveal that nearly three-quarters of respondents had considered donating their organs, yet less than one-third had made arrangements to donate. Having an accurate knowledge about organ donation and being willing to accept a donated organ were particularly robust factors associated with the likelihood to donate. Having spoken with a physician was also a positive factor, yet just 5% of the sample had done so, and two-thirds of respondents did not want to discuss organ donation with their physician. The study’s findings suggest that enhanced recruitment may be achieved by focusing on education (especially increased emphasis on the family’s role) and by targeting both parents and their children. Finally, although physicians are encouraged to discuss organ donation with patients, more information is needed to explain why patients may not want to talk about this topic with their doctors.

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