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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 199

Date:- 01 May 2005

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Study seeks deeper understanding of bereaved families' attitudes to organ donation

RESERCHERS at the University of Southampton are looking for people in the north of England to take part in a major new study into organ donation. The national study will look at the decision-making and experiences of bereaved people who after the death of a family member chose not to donate organs or tissues of the deceased relative for transplant operations.

Led by Dr Magi Sque, a Senior Lecturer in the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, the team is launching a radio and newspaper advertising campaign in the north of England on 3 May, targeting Bradford, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Preston and Sheffield. The aim is to recruit family members willing to talk about their experiences. Family members will also be recruited via 3 NHS Trusts.

Little is known about how families who do not donate experience the donation process. This means that issues such as how families deal with the untimely death of a much-loved family member and having organ donation discussed with them is not well understood. This lack of understanding has implications for the provision and support that can be offered to bereaved families.

The University of Southampton study is expected to highlight the needs of relatives throughout their donation decision-making and bereavement. The results will help to develop more effective services for families whose relatives die in hospital, as well as further training for health professionals and volunteers involved.

Dr Sque explains:- "By learning about individual hospital experiences and other issues of concern relating to bereavement, we hope to find out more about the special care that may be required by relatives at the time of death, at the discussion about organ donation and over the months that follow.

We will be specifically looking at issues such as the impact of hospital care and bereavement on a family's life, and the good and bad points of hospital care when talking about donation and possible choices. We would also like to find out whether hospital staff respected religious and other beliefs and what support was offered during and after the hospital stay, including the availability of bereavement counselling," 

This new study follows a comprehensive 3 year study by Dr Sque and her team, which was completed in 2003 and provided insights into the bereavement of families who chose to donate organs.

People recruited to the study will be invited to talk to a trained interviewer about their experiences. Anyone interested in finding out more about the study or in taking part should contact Research Fellow Diana Allardyce at the University of Southampton on 023 8059 8231 or email A website about the study has been set up 
Click here to see 

Dr Sque's co-researchers are Tracy Long, Senior Research Fellow in the University of Southampton's School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor Sheila Payne of the Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group at the University of Sheffield. UK Transplant (NHS) has commissioned the study and results will be available at the end of 2005.

Currently in the UK, the low number of organs donated limits organ transplantation. In 2003, 772 individuals became major organ donors although over 6,000 people are still waiting for suitable organs. Around 42% of families who are asked to donate organs refuse and this rate rises to 77% among the non-white population. 

Sun, Sea and 24 Hour Drinking

24 hour drinking in the UK has hardly been out of the press during the last 6 months, but the British public have been experiencing this type of never-ending opening hours for many years now. 

Each summer, millions of us travel abroad and seamlessly join the café society like any seasoned European; sipping wine in a relaxed, sociable atmosphere before taking a peaceful, leisurely stroll with friends or family back to our hotel or apartment. Equally, there are just as many of us who spend balmy Mediterranean nights getting off our face and staggering off into the sunset with people we've just met and the sun-kissed afternoons, mornings are never seen, recovering from vicious hangovers. 

If you are in the second group, the chances are you've had some fun holidays and have great memories of them. Or perhaps you are one of the many unfortunate individuals whose holiday turned into a nightmare due to an incident you got into when you were drunk - an incident ranging from falling over and injuring yourself to being arrested, robbed or even raped!

Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the UK's leading authority on personal safety, said:- "Most of the talk about 24 hour drinking has concentrated on the violence and aggression caused by those who drink but it's equally important to remember just how vulnerable drink can make people. Violent and aggressive incidents happen on a sickeningly frequent basis to drunken holiday makers and, in most cases, these incidents could have been easily avoided."

No-one is suggesting that people shouldn't drink on holiday (or at any other time) but simply that you should learn how to protect yourself when you know that your planned alcohol intake will affect your judgement and you might be surprised to know this can happen after only 1 or 2 drinks."

The best way to stay safe on a night out without spoiling your fun is to plan ahead, when you are still thinking relatively sensibly. If possible arrange for at least one of your group to stay sober each night in order to keep an eye on the others and see that they don't do anything to put themselves in danger. 

When you're in a bar or club, check your drinks as they are being poured and make sure that someone watches them at all times so that neither additional alcohol nor any other type of drug is added. Know your limit and remember that in many countries the drinks are much stronger than at home. If you feel particularly strange after taking a drink or realise you have drunk too much, tell a friend immediately and make sure you are accompanied home by one of your own group. 

If the clubs or bars you are going to are within walking distance make sure you walk there and back with fri or if they are not, ask your holiday rep or someone from your hotel to recommend the safest method of transport and stick to this. 

You should also arrange between your group that you should stop each other going off alone with people you've just met, no matter how fanciable they are! If they're that nice, arrange to meet them the next day when you're sober and can make a rational judgement about them.

Remember, nothing will turn you into a potential victim quicker or more effectively than alcohol, and that to be able to drink and stay safe you need to take certain precautions. Organisations like The Suzy Lamplugh Trust can only advise people, it's up to the individual to decide whether getting drunk without planning for it is a risk they want to take.

For further safety advice visit

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