The need for organ donation has increased over time, but the shortage of available donors is the major limiting factor in transplantation. Organ donation refusal from relatives of potential donors with brain death significantly reduces organ availability. We report a brief analysis about family conflicts in decision-making and causes for refusing donation; moreover, we describe new family-centered strategies in the intensive care unit (ICU) and our systematic communication approach between medical staff and patients’ relatives. In 2016 we conducted a single-center, non-randomized, controlled and before and after study in our ICU, an 18-bed intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital. We compared the rate of consent for organ donation before and after the introduction of the new communication approach. The application of a new communication approach between medical staff and relatives of brain-dead patients was associated with a significant increase in the rate of consent to donation. The positive results of the 3-year period 2013–2015 have been confirmed in the 2-year period 2016–2017. Our results highlight the importance of empathy and counselor support of relatives in the ICU.
Part of the book: Organ Donation and Transplantation