Organ and Tissue Donation: Advice for Family Caregivers

December 21, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Martha Anderson is Executive Vice President of Donor Services at the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. Dr. Frank Markel is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Trillium Gift of Life Network. They describe organ and tissue donation and the benefits that come from it. They discuss the concerns that people have about organ and tissue donation, and how these are addressed. They explain the importance of the family caregiver in family discussions about potential donations. They talk about the things they say to family caregivers caring for family members nearing the end of life. And the things they say to parents discussing donation with their children with life-threatening conditions. They identify and explain the circumstances in which they would advise a family caregiver not to encourage organ and tissue donation. They say what they would like to see done so that family caregivers are increasingly informed about organ and tissue donation and are encouraged to promote it.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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