Influencing relatives to respect donor autonomy: Should we nudge families to consent to organ donation?

Bioethics 32 (3):155-163 (2018)

Refusing consent to organ donation remains unacceptably high, and improving consent rates from family or next-of-kin is an important step to procuring more organs for solid organ transplantation in countries where this approval is sought. We have thus far failed to translate fully our limited understanding of why families refuse permission into successful strategies targeting consent in the setting of deceased organ donation, primarily because our interventions fail to target underlying cognitive obstacles. Novel interventions to overcome these hurdles, incorporating an understanding of cognitive psychology and behavioral change therapy, may be beneficial. One potential intervention is to use the concept of nudge theory, where decision-making is influenced by encouraging positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion. Purposefully nudging families to given consent for organ donation by understanding, and then overcoming, their inherent cognitive biases is novel but also controversial. This article explores the roles of relatives in decisions about organ donation, how nudge theory translates to organ donation and discusses the arguments for and against its application.
Keywords consent  nudging  organ donation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/bioe.12420
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,299
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Improving the Organ Donor Card System in Switzerland.David Shaw - 2013 - Swiss Medical Weekly 143:w13835.
Opt-Out and Consent.Douglas MacKay - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (10):1-4.
A Promise Acceptance Model of Organ Donation.Alida Liberman - 2015 - Social Theory and Practice 41 (1):131-148.
Organ Donation, Brain Death and the Family: Valid Informed Consent.Ana S. Iltis - 2015 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 43 (2):369-382.


Added to PP index

Total views
44 ( #205,593 of 2,290,952 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #99,651 of 2,290,952 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature