Needs and experiences of Hong Kong Chinese cadaveric organ donor families

Tong Yuen Fan, Eleanor A. Holroyd, Beatrice Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lack of family consent from family members has been a major obstacle to cadaveric organ donation in Hong Kong. Donation decisions for families take place within an intricate web of tragedy, technology and uncertainty. Families' feelings about death, religious preferences and their attitudes towards organ donation greatly influence their experience of the decision-making on donation. Therefore, it is worthwhile to explore Hong Kong cadaveric donor families' experience in the process of decision-making within a Chinese cultural framework. Methods: Convenience sampling was used. Twenty-nine donor families were drawn from the list of the Transplant Coordination Service at four Hong Kong public hospitals. Inclusion criteria were Cantonese-speaking Chinese residing in Hong Kong, who gave their consent to donate their relatives' organ. The donor families were asked on their retrospective perceptions and experience during and after the decision-making. Results: Thirteen participants were recruited and given a semi-structured interview. All the participants were female. The family relationships to the donors were wives, mothers, daughters and siblings. They had given consent to the organ donation. These families' experience of the donation procedure included an inability to comprehend brain death, confusion, stress and uncertainty. The informational and emotional needs were also stressed in donor families during and after donation, while emotional issues after donation were clearly identified. Conclusion: Among Hong Kong Chinese families that offer organ donation, decision-making is influenced by deeply embedded Chinese beliefs. It is recommended that healthcare professionals should have cultural sensitivity and competence in assisting donation discussions in order to meet their patients' needs, increase confidence and assure donor families during and after the decision-making process on organ donation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalHong Kong Journal of Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain death
  • Donor family
  • Health professional
  • Hong Kong Chinese
  • Organ donation


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