According to the Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network (OPTN), as of March 12, 2018, there are 95,357 people in the United States waiting for kidney transplants. Every year five thousand of those people die awaiting a kidney transplant; the current average wait for a kidney transplant is 3.6 years due to the shortage of organs. Increasing living donation is a solution to the organ shortage. Living donation also has many benefits, which include: improved organ/graft survival, decreased need for antirejection medications, immediate organ function post-surgery, and immediate placement on the wait list for a deceased organ transplant as you await your living donor work up.
Unfortunately one of the most significant barriers to increasing living donation is the discomfort that patients feel discussing the topic of organ donation with friends and family. The National Kidney Foundation has developed a campaign, “The Big Ask/The Big Give” to assist patients in understanding the benefits of living donation and prepare them for this discussion. Reviewing these materials with patients in your facility who are considering transplant or on the wait list already may help them prepare for this difficult, yet potentially lifesaving conversation.