Difficult communication: Compliance-gaining strategies of organ procurement coordinators
Anker, Ashley E.
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Scholars and professionals point to a failure to obtain familial consent for organ donation (e.g., Sheehy et al., 2003) as a critical factor underlying the organ shortage. In addition, research indicates the need to explore donor behavior as a dependent variable (see Feeley, 2007) and to characterize the request process of organ procurement coordinators [OPCs] (Siminoff, Arnold, Caplan, Virnig, & Seltzer, 1995). The present study addresses the less-than-optimal consent rates by interviewing OPCs - the individuals responsible for obtaining familial consent for donation - about the communication strategies utilized in the request process. Seventy-nine interviews were conducted with OPCs from a national sample of 11 organ procurement organizations [OPOs] (19% of OPOs). Results describe the strategies utilized by OPCs in attempting to gain credibility with a potential donor family, barriers to donation, messages utilized in requesting donation from families, factors relevant to the timing and setting of the donation request, and familial factors that may change the donation request process. Results identify positive associations between conversion rates and attending workshops/conferences (β = 0.25), describing additional roles to the family (β = 0.25), gaining early intervention (β = 0.34), and approaching a family with additional support (β = 0.34). In addition, negative associations are noted between engaging in role play activities (β = -0.40), discussing donation as life-saving (β = -0.27), asking about a patient's character (β = -0.24), and approaching away from bedside (β = -0.26) and conversion rates. Recommendations are offered for the applicability of this research to those involved with facilitating the organ procurement process surrounding cadaveric donation, as well as to communication scholars.