Shortages of organs for transplantation are a concern for many countries. In Australia’s “opt-in” system, people register their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) in their own time, yet <30% of the population have done so. Consent registrations are honored by the next-of-kin in 90% of cases, so increasing registrations will increase donated organs for transplantation. This study investigated the efficacy of offering an immediate registration opportunity in 2 hospitals, and the role that beliefs about organ donation play in registration behavior.
An immediate registration opportunity was offered at a public and a private hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Participants (N = 168) categorized as medical/healthcare (eg, doctor and nurse) and nonhealthcare (eg, teacher and chef) completed a measure of beliefs about organ donation, were encouraged to discuss their fears and concerns about organ donation, and given an immediate opportunity to register on the AODR.
A total of 81.5% of medical/healthcare participants who were eligible registered, and 71.5% of all eligible participants registered on the spot. Beliefs about the negative consequences of donation and concerns over the medical care given to potential donors predicted (non)registration. Medical/healthcare participants reported lower levels of fears and concerns than nonhealthcare participants. Although both groups reported strong positive beliefs about donation, these did not predict registration.
Offering an immediate registration opportunity in 2 hospitals notably increased the number of registrations on the AODR, suggesting this is a strategy that could potentially increase registrations in opt-in donation systems.