A new app aimed at dispelling myths and encouraging discussion about organ donation is being developed by researchers at Social Marketing @ Griffith.
Among the myths they want to bust is a widely-held belief that once someone is on the Australian Organ Donor Register, there is no need to share this information with family members.
“Donations cannot go ahead without the consent of that person’s family, even if he or she has registered. They need to discuss this decision with their family,” Dr Kathy Knox, project leader, said.
Dr Knox was speaking during DonateLife Week 2016, a national awareness campaign to promote organ and tissue donations, which started on July 31.
Social Marketing @ Griffith held a series of workshops on Griffith University campuses to mark DonateLife Week where participants could inform the design and development of the new DonateLife app. Dr Knox encouraged students at the Nathan, Mt Gravatt and Logan campuses to get involved.
“We’re particularly calling on young Australians to take a leadership role,” she said.
“While a third of Australians are on the organ donor registry, only 8% of people aged 18-24 are registered.
“Many young people have an inherited genetic condition or a severe disease that will kill them if they don’t have a transplant.
“One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 people, or more.”
The project is sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Authority which awarded a 2016 Community Awareness Grant worth $50,000 to Social Marketing @ Griffith and Griffith University’s App Factory to develop a mobile app to promote and support the DonateLife message.
People using the app will also be encouraged both to register and to discuss this decision with family members.
“The non-consent of families is a prominent reason why organs of potential donors are not recovered,” Dr Knox said.
“Consent rates reach as high as 93% when there is prior knowledge of donor wishes among family members. Therefore, communication among family members is one of the crucial factors that can be addressed and improved on. This will be a key part of how the app is designed.
“The app will also deliver on the facts about organ and tissue donation and will crack down on the myths related to age, religion, support networks and what happens to the donor’s body.”
To find out more, contact Dr Kathy Knox, Research Fellow, on 3735 7577 or email [email protected]