Jun 18, 2003 6:00 PM

University of Utah Hospital ranks seventh highest in the country for its organ donation consent rate, according to the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations.

University Hospital received one of only seven "A" ratings among 200 hospitals.

The rankings are based on the percentage of families who consent to organ donation compared with the total number of patients who were medically eligible to donate. To receive an "A" rating, a hospital must have an organ donation rate of at least 75 percent--meaning that three-quarters of potential donors will give organs.

Between August 2001 and July 2002, the U Hospital enlisted a total of 55 combined organ, tissue, and eye donors, according to the Utah Donor Registry, part of the Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Donor Services (IDS). IDS is a federally designated nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplantation. The U accounted for the highest number of organ and tissue donors in the IDS Utah recovery area, which includes 2.7 million people and 79 hospitals in Utah, southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and Elko, Nevada.

University Hospital works closely with IDS to coordinate transplants. Woody Marshall, IDS hospital development coordinator, said: "We believe the high consent rate at the University of Utah Hospital is directly related to the quality of care that a family feels their loved one received from the nursing and physician staff."

According to Kim Phillips, R.N., M.S.N., U Hospital nursing manager for solid organ transplants, staff training about donation is a primary reason for the hospitals high donor rate. Orientation for every new employee who works with patients includes education about how to sensitively speak with grieving people about organ donation and the importance of donating to patients who need organ and tissue transplants.

"Our nurses and other staff are trained to recognize the need and opportunity for donation," Phillips said. "But when speaking with people about the potential for organ donation, were always aware of the difficult circumstances under which these decisions are made."

Along with staff training, Phillips cites another reason for the Us high donor rate: Utahns overwhelmingly approve of organ donation.

Recent surveys show that 97 percent of Utah residents favor the idea of organ donation, according to Phillips. That kind of support makes it easier to enlist donors.

organ donation