The end of Organ Donation Week marks the beginning of an important conversation

Written by Gareth Coles:

Today marks the end of Organ Donation Week 2017 – the subject of a great deal of discussion in the British media about the importance of organ donation and letting your loved ones know how you feel about it.The biggest headline this week was the story about the donated organs of a 13 year old girl who saved a record of eight people’s lives. It’s a sad but at the same time uplifting read which also reveals that 457 people died waiting for transplant last year, whilst this year there are 6414 people on the transplant waiting list, including 176 children.

Research carried out by the NHS suggests that most people support organ donation, but the awareness week is designed to encourage people to tell their families, as a family’s support is an important and sometimes deciding factor in whether or not organ donation can go ahead when you die.

As citizens here in Cardiff, local Welsh legislation means that unless we actively ‘opt-out’ of Organ Donation, we are regarded as having no objection to donating organs.  It’s worth mentioning though that the legislation encourages you to still register to be a donor on the NHS Organ Donor Register, so that your wishes are explicitly stated. You can of course change your mind at any time, and you can also appoint a representative to make the decision for you after your death.

The bottom line is that it is vitally important to tell your family and loved ones about what you want to happen when you die – not least because if they know you are happy to donate your organs, they might help to save someone else’s life.

A couple of months ago I was on a panel of death care industry experts and a question came up about whether Organ Donation slows up the funeral process… here’s an excerpt from the answer that might help you to decide whether you want to register to donate:

Does Organ Donation slow up the funeral process?
…In exceptional circumstances we have experienced a slight delay, for example if a specialist surgeon is required, but this is highly unusual. In the vast majority of cases, organ donation has little to no impact on funeral arrangements. The process is different if you donate your body to medical science, but in this scenario, UHW will arrange and pay for your funeral service, which can be many months after your death. Read the full answer here >

Just because Organ Donation Week has come to an end, it doesn’t mean the conversation has to stop. Whilst it might be a difficult subject to bring up and talk about, planning for what happens when you die can actually be very liberating, and has many financial benefits as well as the emotional ones… which is why we’ll be discussing how you can go about planning in much more detail throughout September.

And of course, if you’d like to understand how we can help you with this, I’d be happy to meet you for coffee and discuss what sort of peace of mind you’re looking for – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.