On Friday 27th of September we will run our second Tissue Donation (TD) training day for Emergency Department (ED) nurses and doctors in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE). The focus of the day is to train resuscitation nurses on how to approach the sensitive subject of TD with bereaved relatives in the ED. At the RIE, we can retrieve corneas, heart valves and tendons up to 48 hours after death.
There is currently not any training in TD in NHS Lothian or nationally and despite having TD link nurses, only short training sessions are offered to ED nurses provided by a TD link nurse. A full day of training is invaluable for staff that approach families to allow them to do this efficiently and competently.
Questionnaires completed before the first training day revealed that only 32% of doctors and 50% of nurses working in Resus were comfortable approaching TD with families. Monthly statistics received from TD services high-lighted that as little as one approach was being made monthly despite an average of 10 deaths per month.
The purpose of this Quality Improvement project is not only to improve our referral rates but also raise the profile of TD within our department, setting a president for other ED departments to aspire to. It is also to empower staff to ensure that patients’ wishes are being fulfilled after death.
The first training day ran on Friday 25th March 2019, consisting of morning presentations from a wide variety of healthcare professionals and a patient representative giving a very personal account of her son’s Tissue donation story. The afternoon focussed solely on role play and scenarios.
Post evaluation feedback from the 17 attendees was extremely positive. Everyone enjoyed the day with favourite sessions being role play and patient representative story. Pre training, 12 nurses were uncomfortable approaching families, post training 100% were comfortable making the approach.
Figures received since the initial study day in March show that we are now averaging at least 3 referrals per month, a threefold improvement, which is very exciting news.
The Medic 1 charity has supported this project providing funding to provide staff attending with refreshments throughout the day which we are very grateful for. The ED senior nursing team have also been incredibly supportive allowing staff study time to attend.