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Patient Education Program Increases Donor Interest

Improving a patient's ability to discuss liver donation led to a 42 percent increase in donations

THURSDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- An educational program on living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) increased waitlisted patients' knowledge and ability to discuss donations with family and friends, ultimately increasing both the number of donations and the number of prospective donors seeking evaluation, according to a study in the January issue of Liver Transplantation.

Samantha DeLair, of the New York Center for Liver Transplantation in East Greenbush, and colleagues provided waitlisted candidates for liver transplants from five transplant centers an educational program, "In Their Own Words -- The Experiences of Living Liver Donors," consisting of a DVD, brochure and Web site. Different cohorts of patients were surveyed before and after the program to determine their knowledge and self-efficacy to discuss LDLT with family members and friends.

Of those provided the educational materials, the researchers found that 32 percent viewed them and 68 percent did not. The knowledge and self-efficacy of those who viewed the material was significantly better than those who did not. Ultimately, donations from living donors increased 42 percent over the pre-intervention period, while the number of persons who came in for donation evaluation increased by 74 percent.

"The data are compelling: reported gains in waitlist candidates knowledge and self-efficacy with respect to LDLT appear to be associated with significant increases in the number of individuals interested in the option of LDLT and with positive impacts on actual donation rates (i.e., there was an increase not only in those who were evaluated but also in those who ultimately became donors)." the authors write.

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