The extraordinary gift of tissue donation is made possible by an ecosystem of cooperation within a community: hospitals, tissue recovery agencies, hospices, funeral homes, law enforcement, coroners, medical examiners, first responders – and most importantly, individuals. Hospitals play a critical role in this process as they support both as tissue recipients and donors.
There are many differences for a hospital to consider when choosing a tissue partner. A full-service tissue bank offers a complete range of services to facilitate the gift of donation while tissue recovery agencies rely on secondary processors and may be limited in their services. Each step of the tissue donation process brings key factors to consider in a partner:
Tissue recovery partners must evaluate each potential referral for donor suitability. Referrals can be significantly streamlined when working with a full-service tissue bank with direct ownership over the entire process. Tissue recovery agencies may work with many different partners depending on the types of tissue involved.
Hospitals should ensure that a prospective tissue partner has quick and nimble recovery teams – ideally 24/7 – located in areas throughout the region, with well-defined response protocols and criteria to minimize delays. Another feature to look for is an organization with highly trained anatomists to aid in the recovery process.
While every tissue partner should meet the American Association of Tissue Banks’ required criteria for reconstruction, there are ways to go above and beyond – such as using Biobone, a biodegradable prosthetic that supports burial and cremation funeral plans. A strong reconstruction program also indicates a higher level of respect for the dignity of each donor.
The manner that gifts are returned to the communities that need them is of utmost importance. Priorities include looking for partners who process tissue within your region and can prioritize “just-in-time delivery” for emergent cases, further supporting surgical teams and patient needs.
The tissue donation process does not end once the tissue has been successfully transplanted. Choosing a partner that prioritizes support during the healing process after the loss of a loved one should be an important consideration. LifeNet Health provides support for 30 months after donation. A full-service tissue bank like LifeNet Health can also report back to partners and the donor’s families on how their loved one’s gifts changed lives. They can share the number of tissues donated, types of tissue recovered and where they have been transplanted.
As the only full-service tissue bank in the Pacific Northwest LifeNet Health fulfills each of the needs mentioned above, offering an unprecedented level of support and expertise. LifeNet Health partners with 1000+ hospital and community partners across the country to fulfill final wishes and bring hope and healing to others. Hospital leaders and community partners can have comfort knowing that LifeNet Health is a nonprofit organization focused on saving lives, restoring health, and giving hope.
Whether you choose to partner with LifeNet Health or another organization, we hope you will consider all the factors that can play into this important decision – and thank you for doing your part in making the gift of donation a reality!
LifeNet Health is a Washington Hospital Services Industry Partner. The Industry Partner program connects hospitals with product and service organizations to create efficiencies, lower costs and deliver exceptional health care. For more information about LifeNet Health or the WHS Industry Partner Program, contact Cynthia Hay at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 216-2526. (Cynthia Hay)