This guideline covers identifying people who wish to donate their organs after their death. It offers advice on how to approach families and carers of people who are nearing the end of life and how to seek consent for organ donation. It aims to promote discussion of organ donation as part of end-of-life care and to increase the number of organs available for people waiting for a transplant.

In December 2016, a footnote on diagnosis of brain stem death in infants was added to recommendation 1.1.2. A footnote on the NHS Organ Donor Register was added to recommendation 1.1.9. An outdated research recommendation was removed.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Organ donors and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in December 2016. We found no new evidence that affects the recommendations in this guideline.

Next review: 2018

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)