Organ Donation Attitudes Among Individuals With Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease

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Abstract

Background

The need for transplantable organs drastically outweighs the supply. Misconceptions are a barrier to increasing the rate of donor registration. Individuals with stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) may incorrectly believe they are unable to be donors; however, their attitudes have not been studied. This study aims to explore beliefs of individuals with stage 5 CKD about their ability to donate and test the validity of an organ donation scale.

Methods

We examined the psychometric properties of a new 25-item organ donation scale among 554 patients with stage 5 CKD at 12 dialysis units in southeast Michigan. Patients completed surveys during dialysis treatment with assistance from a program coordinator or social worker.

Results

Two subscales with good psychometric properties were identified: general benefits (α = 0.86) and general barriers (α = 0.80). For both subscales, more positive attitudes were associated with higher intent to sign up on the donor registry, suggesting validity of the scale.

Conclusions

Patients who were older than 60 years, white, or of higher education status reported more positive attitudes. Misconceptions about the ability of patients with stage 5 CKD to donate are common and highlight a need for education about donor eligibility. Individuals with stage 5 CKD may be able to donate organs and tissues.

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