December 1, 2016 Earlier this fall Jill Hubick, registered nurse with The Lung Association along with Dr. Mark Fenton, Nicole Nelson, and Charlotte L’Oste-Brown presented to the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Services with recommendations as to how the Government of Saskatchewan can increase the rate of organ donation and improve the effectiveness of the organ and tissue donation program in Saskatchewan.
Charlotte L’Oste-Brown, on Transplant Waitlist,
Dr. Brian Graham, CEO Lung Association,
Jill Hubick, RN, Lung Association,
Nicole Nelson, Double Lung Transplant recipient
Photo Credit: Sandy Lockhart Photography
Within Canada, Saskatchewan has one of the lowest donation rates. For the people in our province suffering from severe lung disease, having a lung transplant may be their last and only option to survive. An average of 4 patients in Saskatchewan receive a lung transplant each year which represents approximately only a third to one half of the patients in this province who are actively listed and continue to wait for new lungs.
This week members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan presented a second report outlining the Standing Committee’s on Human Services findings and recommendations for organ and tissue donation. After considering all the testimonials and written submissions the Standing Committee made 10 recommendations.
The Lung Association welcomes action taken by the Saskatchewan government to increase organ donation rates in the province. In regards to the recent statement made by the provincial government specific to presumed consent, The Lung Association continues to stress the importance of implementing several key elements that have been proven effective in systems with high organ donation rates. As highlighted in the Standing Committee’s Human Services report, implementing only one element alone does not translate into improved donation rates. Quality education/awareness for the public about organ donation; making sure our health system is equipped with necessary human resources including medical donation specialists; and designating funding for transplant related activities is essential. Whether an individual chooses to opt in or out of organ and tissue donation, transplants will not happen without the family’s consent. It is critical that every individual discuss their wishes for organ and tissue donation to ensure that all requests are carried out as intended.
As highlighted in the Standing Committee’s Human Services report, implementing only one element alone does not translate into improved donation rates.
Lung Association of Saskatchewan Recommendations
- Consult/survey the people of Saskatchewan about the low rates of organ and tissue donation to determine strategies that will enhance public awareness and participation.
- Allocate funds towards a robust organ and tissue donation campaign that debunks common myths and focuses on the essential need for all Saskatchewan residents to warrant that their intentions regarding organ and tissue donations are met.
- Ensure that the system is ready to respond to all donation opportunities, and guarantee that the most is made of every potential donor organ by allocating necessary resources and appropriate management to understand and explore the medical and logistical reasons why donors/potential donors are missed in our province.
- Allot funds to introduce a medical donation specialist (coordinator), train and empower physicians, surgeons, and other health practitioners to do their part in identifying and referring potential donors. Allow a complete culture shift within a patient–focused care system to ensure every member of the treatment team is aware of which patients may qualify to be organ and tissue donors.
- Dedicate funding for organ donation organizations and direct funding from the Ministry of Health for all transplant-related activities that is independent of regional health authority budgets.
- Allocate funds specifically to support medical management of potential organ donors including an investment in support technologies for resuscitation of donor organs and bridging of recipients.
- Ensure that adequate and affordable housing accommodations are available close to treatment centers regardless of patient socioeconomic status.
- Safeguard funding to support both the transplant recipient and their required support person for the additional costs they incur.
Lung disease affects one in five Canadians and several of those lung diseases may lead to the need for a lung transplant.2 Every 15 minutes someone dies of lung disease in our country.3 The most common diseases for which lung transplant surgery is done include pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cystic fibrosis.1
Organ donation can give the gift of breath.
Speak to your families about organ and tissue donation today!
- Lung Association of Alberta. (2009). Lung Transplant Information for Alberta and NWT Residents. Retrieved on August 22, 2016 from https://www.ab.lung.ca/sitewyze/files/LungTransplant.pdf
- National Lung Health Framework. (2012). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved on August 25, 2016 from http://www.lunghealthframework.ca/about-framework/frequently-asked-questions
- Murray, C., Lopez, A. (1996) The Global Burden of Disease: A Comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability form diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Harvard University, Boston MA, USA and World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
- O’Donnell, D., Aaron, S., Bourbeau, J. et al. (2007). Canadian Thoracic Society: Recommendations for management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease- 2007 update. Retrieved on August 15, 2016 from https://cts.lung.ca/guidelines
- Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2016). Organ Donations Continue to Fall Short of Meeting Demand. Retrieved on August 19, 2016 from https://www.cihi.ca/en/organ-donations-fall-short-of-meeting-demand
- Canadian Institute for Health information. (2015). Canadian Organ Replacement Register. Retrieved on August 25, 2016 from https://www.cihi.ca/en/infographic-organs-required-by-canadians-in-2014
- Cystic Fibrosis Canada. (2016). What is cystic fibrosis? Retrieved on August 22, 2016 from http://www.cysticfibrosis.ca/about-cf/what-is-cystic-fibrosis
- Pulmonary Fibrosis Canada. (2016). Understanding pulmonary fibrosis. Retrieved on August 25, 2016 from http://cpff.ca/understanding-pf/what-is-pulmonary-fibrosis/
- Canadas Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantations Communities in Collaboration with Canadian Blood Services. (2008). Call to Action: A strategic plan to improve organ and tissue donation and transplantation performance for Canadians. Retrieved on August 25 from https://blood.ca/sites/default/files/otdt-indx-final-c2a.pdf
- Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2014). Lung Transplantation. Retrieved on August 22, 2016 from https://www.cihi.ca/en/corr2015_chap5_en.pdf
- Saskatoon Division of Respirology. (2016). Lung transplant data. August 24, 2016
- Rague, G., Collard, H., Egan J.et al. (2011). An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT statement: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and management. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. 183(6), 788-824. Retrieved from http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.2009-040GL#.V8mkOJgrI2w
- Alberta Heath Services. (2015). Lung transplant data. August 22, 2016
Photo Credit: Sandy Lockhart Photography https://www.sandylockhartphotography.ca/