Ethnocultural beliefs vary widely on organ donation

Although a high number of Chinese- and Indo-Canadians and Aboriginal people are awaiting organ transplants, there is little knowledge about organ donation and registration processes for organ donation among these ethnocultural communities, according to a recent UVic study. “As a result, the donation rate is very low,” says nursing professor Dr. Anita Molzahn, who led the study exploring values and beliefs concerning organ donation of people of Chinese, South Asian and Coast Salish origin.

The study explored religious and spiritual beliefs about death, dying and organ donation; intergenerational considerations; the involvement of the family and community in decision-making; and fears surrounding organ donation. Coast Salish participants also reported on a lack of trust in health care professionals and government.

The diversity of responses indicates it’s important for health care professionals to not make assumptions about an individual’s beliefs regarding organ donation based on their membership in an ethnocultural community says Molzahn. “Strategies to increase awareness about organ donation will differ for each community,” she adds. “We hope the results of this study will facilitate culturally sensitive health care practices that will allow each individual to make an informed choice about being an organ donor.” The Kidney Foundation of Canada provided funding for the study.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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