ENCOURAGING EMPLOYEES TO REGISTER AS
Most organs used for transplantation in Canada come from deceased
donors – individuals who agree to pass their organs on
when they die.
While 89 per cent of Canadians say they support the idea of organ
donation, the rate of deceased donor registration is only 20.9
per million, below international standards and less than half of
what is needed.
In Canada, only about two per cent of all deaths fulfill the strict
clinical criteria to make the deceased a potential candidate for organ
donation. Further, not all potential donors become actual
donors due to issues of clinical matching and family consent. In
fact, studies show that Canadians are five to six times more likely
to need an organ transplant than they are to ever become an organ
Workplace programs provide a great opportunity to help raise
awareness and increase deceased donor registration. Research
confirms that while workplace initiatives that simply provide
information can fall flat, workplace initiatives that combine educational
information with either a change in environment/culture, a
change in policy or participation incentives can be the most effective
at achieving the desired outcome.
Help build a culture of donation in your organization. Deliver
an awareness and registration campaign that helps employees
understand that registering to be a deceased donor is easy and
risk-free. It might also be the most generous thing they ever do.
Create a competition for the most registrations between
divisions, subsidiaries or jurisdictions. Maybe challenge a competitor
in your industry and see who can get the most employees to
register in a month. Involve someone from the organ donation and
transplant community to help make the campaign “personal,” perhaps
a transplant recipient or a surgeon. The Organ Project would
be happy to help you design a campaign and measure the impact.
ENSURING YOUR EMPLOYEE POLICIES FACILITATE
In many cases, a person’s medical condition is such that the wait
for a deceased donor isn’t possible and donation by a living donor
is the only option for survival. Where there is an appropriate clinical
match, one kidney, one lobe of a lung, a portion of the liver,
small intestine or pancreas can be transplanted from someone who
is alive, without medically compromising the donor.
Often there is a close familial relationship between donor and
recipient, such as a parent donating to a child or a brother donating
to a sister. In other instances, as in the case of The Organ
Project’s founder Eugene Melnyk, the donor is completely unknown
to the recipient.
For the donor, the transplant involves a series of pre-surgery
clinical tests and a typical post-operative recovery. While a number
of provinces like Ontario, B.C. and Quebec are requiring employers
to provide an unpaid, job-protected leave for up to 13 weeks,
forward-thinking employers, like the Fraser Health Authority in
British Columbia, have implemented a special leave specifically designed
to support living organ donors.
Recognizing that fear of financial hardship and loss of employment
are two key barriers that might prevent an employee from
becoming a living donor, Fraser Health has provided an eightweek
paid leave. Organizational benefits flow from improved
productivity of the employee once they are fully recovered, limited
disruption and the goodwill associated with helping to save a life.
See if your organization has a policy to support living organ
donation. If it doesn’t, implement one. Help your employees overcome
the disruptions of supporting a loved one waiting for an
organ transplant. Facilitating immediate treatment has a better
outcome for everyone involved.
Together we can work to increase the number of registered deceased
donors and facilitate living donation for those immediately
affected by transplantation within your employee base.
Contact email@example.com to start planning your registration
campaign or to discuss employment benefits for living
Catherine Shaw is the chief operating officer at The Organ Project.
csr: the organ project
In Canada, deceased donor registration is managed at the provincial level
by provincial organ procurement organizations. To register with any of the
provincial registries, please visit www.theorganproject.net.
One deceased donor can save up to eight lives by donating their liver,
pancreas, small intestine, heart, lungs (two) and kidneys (two).
38 ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL