Organ Donation Decision: Comparison of Donor and Nondonor Families


*Corresponding author: James R. Rodrigue,


Family members continue to play a prominent role in donation decisions at time of death. This study examined the relative influence of donor and next-of-kin factors, requestor characteristics, communication processes and satisfaction with the health care team on the donation decision. Data were gathered via structured telephone interview with 285 next-of-kin of donor-eligible deceased individuals who had been approached by coordinators from one organ procurement organization (OPO) in the southeastern USA from July 2001 to February 2004. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that several variables were associated with the donation decision. Subsequent logistic regression analyses revealed that donation was more likely when the deceased was younger, white (OR = 3.20, CI = 1.3, 5.7) and had made his/her donation intentions known (OR = 4.35, CI = 2.6, 7.3), and when the next-of-kin had more favorable organ donation beliefs (OR = 8.72, CI = 5.2, 14.7), was approached about donation by an OPO coordinator (OR = 3.74, CI = 2.2, 6.4), viewed the requestor as sensitive to their needs (OR = 2.70, CI = 1.6, 4.5) and perceived the timing of the request as optimal (OR = 6.63, CI = 3.6, 12.1) (total regression model, chi square = 133.2, p < 0.001, 92.7% of cases correctly predicted). Findings highlight the need for continued public education efforts to maximize positive beliefs about organ donation, to share and document donation decisions and to improve communication processes among the OPO personnel, hospital staff and prospective donor families.