Saving multiple lives via organ donation

Saving multiple lives via organ donation

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Acting Armadale Health Service ICU clinical nurse specialist Nimmi Benny (front) with the rest of the ICU team who helped develop the Organ Retrieval Program at Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.
Acting Armadale Health Service ICU clinical nurse specialist Nimmi Benny (front) with the rest of the ICU team who helped develop the Organ Retrieval Program at Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

A staff push to give the Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit organ retrieval capabilities has earned them a team excellence nomination in the 2016 Hesta Australian Nursing Awards.

Previously patients who died at the hospital were sent to other hospitals for organ retrieval because the Armadale Health Service wasn’t accredited to perform the procedures.

This often led to families refusing organ donations because of the stress of transferring their dead relative and dealing with a new hospital team.

Doctors and nurses developed an organisation-wide program that now allows organ retrieval operations to be conducted on site.

Armadale Health Service ICU director Jacqui Donnelly said this spurred doctors and the nursing team to push for accreditation.

“In the UK the organ teams go to the hospital so we couldn’t comprehend why you couldn’t do it here,” she said.

“When we said to the nurses we want to do this, we want to push the envelope, we want to try and do this, they said yes please.”

Acting ICU clinical nurse specialist Nimmi Benny said the process required the team to be trained and new policies written but ultimately it helped families at a stressful time.

“Being a small ICU when we get specific patients who can be an organ donor we normally contacted tertiary hospitals and get them transferred,” she said.

“But it’s very upsetting to the family at that stage to have their family member transferred so a lot of them actually refuse to go for the organ donation.”

Since the program was implemented last year the hospital has performed two organ retrievals, which benefitted eight people.

Ms Benny said the team were excited when they found out they had been nominated for the Team Excellence Award.

The awards will be announced today at an event in Melbourne.

The winner will receive a $10,000 development grant for their program.