A Qualitative Study of Turning Points or Aha! Moments in Older Adults’ Discussions About Organ Donation

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Introduction:Older adults (50-70 years old) have lower organ donor registration rates than younger adults. Older adults have different informational needs and donor registration behavior than younger age groups.Objective:The objective of this qualitative study was to understand insights of older adults about organ donation to effectively address the barriers to becoming an organ donor. This study identified turning points as “Aha!” moments that occurred during a dialogue intervention where older adults discussed benefits, barriers, and process to organ donation.Setting and Participants:Dialogues were held with small groups of older adults in 11 communities in a Midwestern organ procurement organization service area. Participants were positive to organ donation, but not registered as an organ donor.Methods/Approach:Qualitative analysis of verbatim comments from the dialogue and a follow-up survey were used to examine turning points or “Aha!” moments of participants’ decision-making about organ donation and organ donor registration.Findings:Twenty-one separate in-depth dialogues were conducted with 198 participants, with mean age of 60.57 years. There were 2757 separate comments coded with 465 of the comments (17%) identified as providing Aha! moments during the dialogue. Three themes include benefits of organ donation (30%), barriers about organ donation (39%), and organ donation process (31%).Discussion:The research identified moments in the dialogue where possible learning about organ donation may have occurred. After participation in the dialogue process, there was an increase in intent to register to be an organ donor, organ donation discussion with family and friends, and organ donor registration.

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