85% of families say yes to the donation. Jorge S. López, doctor, psychologist and UPNA researcher, highlighted yesterday that the Spanish population has a culture with greater manifestations of solidarity and collaboration than others. “There is a provision in general”. This positive predisposition to donate is not surprisingly greater than in other countries. However, household waste is lower in Spain. Therefore, they are 15% while in the UK they are about 34% and in the Netherlands 45% when the attitude towards donation in those countries is similar.
If the attitude towards giving is similar but there is less family waste here, what happens?
The answer is not simple but we have some guidelines. The first is that the Spanish transplant system, thanks to everyone’s collaboration, has a very positive image. People believe it is an effective, fair and transparent system. It has to do with a positive image of the healthcare system and professionals. It is an important factor when making decisions and furthermore we have a highly specialized and skilled body of Transplant Coordinators who do their job very well. You have to fix things.
It can be better?
The first goal is to maintain. There is always a series of improvements in two ways: for families to donate more and for better assistance to these families grieving the loss of a loved one. To the extent that it improves, greater well-being of the population is achieved, even if we are almost at the limit.
Do families who donate suffer better? comfort?
In some cases yes. The donation can be an element that generates a positive effect because something positive comes from the loss. But that doesn’t happen in all cases. There are families who say the pain is so severe that it is good but does not relieve. Most find one positive point. And of course we didn’t find any negative effects in any case.
Why does a family say no?
It’s a very tough time. You have to understand that families make decisions at a time of great stress. The fundamental reason is that the will of the deceased was not known and, above all, if he said no in life. 40% of rejections are for this reason. In another 25% this will is unknown and the family prefers not to donate and in 24% there is a disagreement between family members.
Is it important to speak up or leave it in writing?
Of course. If people who wish to donate pass it on to their relatives or leave it expressed in the advance directive register, it relieves the family from making a decision in a time of uncertainty. It makes everything easier. The record is positive but transmission to the family is almost more effective because in Spain it is always consulted.
In short, speak it calmly during a family gathering.
Yes. We are very reluctant to talk about death. Commenting on it in some informal moment is good as sometimes people can be reluctant to leave it in writing. The log would be ideal, but it integrates a lot of what is transmitted.
Is it more complex in children?
It’s very tough because it breaks expectations but, at the same time, in those situations it’s almost necessary to have some positive element, a grip. These two circumstances coexist, and in the end, there are not many differences in child donation.
Should we continue to insist on the message of giving?
Of course. We must insist that transplantation saves lives and changes lives. Anyone who knows someone on dialysis knows this. At the same time it is necessary to strengthen the solidarity character of the population to continue with the donation. And also strengthen the work done by the coordination of transplants, which makes the difference.