Widespread in-principle community support for organ donation does not necessarily translate to individuals becoming organ donors after death. Previous studies have identified factors that influence individuals' decisions to become organ donors, which may be effectively targeted by interventions. We aimed to describe and evaluate the effectiveness of community-based interventions to increase the willingness of individuals to be a deceased organ donor.Methods
We systematically reviewed all randomized controlled trials (RCTs), non-RCTs (NRCTs), and before-after studies that assessed the impact of interventions on increasing the willingness to be a deceased organ donor (measured as commitment to donate and/or intention to donate). We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and CINAHL, without language restriction, to December 2013 and the reference lists of the included articles. We conducted a risk of bias assessment using the Cochrane risk of bias tools and assessed confidence in the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation framework.Results
We identified 63 studies (11 RCTs, 8 cluster-RCTs, 4 NRCTs, 8 cluster-NRCTs, 27 before-after studies) with over 170000 participants. Overall, the quality of the evidence was low. Participants who received a broad range of community-based interventions were more likely to commit as donors (7 cluster-RCTs; 6015 participants; relative risk, 1.70; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.22-2.36; I2 = 94%, P = 0.002), and had higher levels of willingness to donate (3 RCTs, 393 participants; standardized mean difference, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.01-0.56; I2 = 45%; P = 0.04) than those who did not receive the interventions, but not the intention to donate (315 participants; relative risk, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.94-1.51; P = 0.14).Conclusions
Community partnerships and active learning community-based interventions may be effective in increasing the commitment, but not intentions to donate. However, the overall risk of bias for was high, and this may have led to overestimation of the relative treatment effects of these interventions.