Exploring the Needs and Perceptions of Iranian Families Faced with Brain Death News and Request to Donate Organ: A Qualitative Study

ZS Manzari, E Mohammadi, A Heydari, HR Aghamohammadian Shearbaff, MJ Modabber Azizi, E Khaleghi


Background: Learning that one of your beloved ones is passing away and you have to decide on organ donation is a very stressful experience.

Objective: To explore the specific needs of families with a brain-dead patient during organ donation process.

Methods: A qualitative research using content analysis was used to obtain data from 26 purposely selected families in a transplantation center in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, regarding how they would face organ donation decisions.

Results: Data saturation was reached after 38 unstructured in-depth interviews and field notes, once data was transcribed and tabulated. Four major themes emerged as 1) family needs for emotional support, 2) empathy and compassion, 3) team efforts to assure family, and 4) shouldering grief.

Conclusion: Study results highlighted the essential need for an expert team with specialized training to help families in despair deciding in favor or against organ donation. Moreover, discovering and explaining these specific needs help policy makers and administrators to plan interventions in relation to conditionbuilding to facilitate safe passing of the families through this difficult situation.


Brain death; Organ donation; Emotional distress; Iran

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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