A group of third year nursing students are advocating for the creation of an online organ donor registry in Alberta. After working with dialysis patients in Medicine Hat this semester and seeing first-hand the impact of dialysis on their quality of life, the students have joined with patients to form a focus group on the issue.
The group, entitled “Keepin’ It Renal”, met with Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes last Wednesday to share the information they have gathered and ask for his support in lobbying the provincial government.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea. I’m absolutely supportive,” said Barnes who has lost friends from kidney disease. “It’s an area where we can all work together.”
Online registries already exist in Ontario, Manitoba, BC and Yukon and some provinces have seen an increase in organ donations. In British Columbia, awareness efforts are being focused on living donors to provide kidney donations matches.
In addition to the cost of developing an online registry, nursing student Jacqueline Laberge, feels one of the largest issue surrounding organ donation is awareness.
“It’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss with loved ones,” said Laberge, adding that donors still need to have the consent from next of kin. Difficult situations often arise in times of crisis when family members are unclear of a donor’s wishes.
Keepin’ It Renal will continue looking at ways to raise awareness about organ donation and sharing information about registry costs and best practices with Barnes in the months ahead.
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