What is deceased donation simulation?

Any education activity that aims to mimic or replicate any aspect of the deceased donation process. For the purposes of a working UK definition it should include at least one of the following aspects:
1. use of a mannequin to represent a patient
2. recreation of a realistic clinical environment
3. use of professional actors.

Why do deceased donation simulation?

1. Any opportunity for deceased donation occurs at times of significant family distress and it is often inappropriate to allow junior staff to take a lead in discussing donation with families.

2. “It is usually not possible to ‘train’ during these periods, due to it being a time of sensitivity. Therefore, much of the learning occurs either in a piecemeal fashion on the job, or in classrooms based on theory and quite removed from the real world of the critical care environment.” Professor Arpan Guha.

3. Simulation allows staff training and development in a safe environment while enacting real-time events.

Concept behind a Deceased Donation Simulation Academy

A co-operative of health professionals (predominantly UK clinical leads for organ donation and specialist nurses for organ donation) who are engaged in simulation to promote deceased donation within acute hospitals.

What we do

- Exchange information
- Share resources (predominantly through this website)
- Encourage and support others to engage in deceased donation simulation via providing observer places on established courses and attending and advising on new courses as they are established
- Act as a base faculty for national deceased donation simulation courses
- Give expert advice on simulation proposals
- Endorse deceased donation simulation courses

In more detail

Consideration of deceased organ and tissue donation is an important aspect of end-of-life care. In the United Kingdom the General Medical Council establishes a duty of medical practitioners to identify potential organ donors, be prepared to explore the option of deceased donation when a patient is close to death and follow any national donation procedures (GMC Treatment and care towards end of life: good practice in decision making, 2010).

However deceased donation is ethically, legally and emotionally complex. Healthcare professionals find deceased donation stressful and the shift in focus from one of cure to one of care is a challenge, even to those with many years of experience. Staff involved in deceased donation require expert levels of knowledge and skills in communication. The Department of Health Organ Donation Taskforce report (2008) recognised this need and made the following recommendation: ‘All clinical staff likely to be involved in the treatment of organ donors should receive mandatory training in the principles of donation.’ This need has recently been reinforced by the publication of NICE guidance (2011), designed to improve donor identification and consent rates for deceased organ donation.

The falling incidence of death determined by neurological criteria in the UK means that there are fewer opportunities for health professionals to observe neurological death testing and subsequent donation after brain death (DBD) care. Donation after circulatory determined death (DCD) presents its own level of ethical, legal, professional and emotional complexity. Additionally, any opportunity for deceased donation occurs at times of significant family distress and it is often inappropriate to allow junior staff to take a lead in discussing donation with families or to be the key healthcare professional providing family bereavement support.

We believe that high fidelity simulation has an important role to play in training for deceased donation. Simulation allows staff training and development in a safe environment while enacting real-time events. The high fidelity simulation environment has already proven to be an effective education tool in intensive care for providing advanced life support training and acute crisis management. We have found its use in non-crisis simulation, such as deceased donation, equally valuable.

This website seeks to bring together those with an interest in deceased donation simulation and act as a mechanism for the Deceased Donation Simulation Academy to carry out its aims and objectives.