Gold, Bronze Distinctions Underscore SolutionHealth’s Support for Donating

Nashua, NH—Southern New Hampshire Medical Center was awarded gold level recognition for the first time in the National Hospital Organ Donation Campaign for its efforts in educating hospital staff and the public about the state’s donor registry program and providing registration information and resources regarding organ, eye and tissue donors. Elliot Hospital received bronze recognition. The awards were presented at the Annual New England Donor Services Conference last month.

The campaign, a component of the Workplace Partnership for Life, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration and unites donation advocates at hospitals with representatives from their local procurement organization. SNHMC worked with the New England Donor Services (NEDS) on the campaign.

Both hospitals were lauded for conducting awareness and registry campaigns that led to an increased number of potential donors on the state’s donor registry.  Of the 19 hospitals in NH that took part in the campaign, only 4 earned gold recognition. Only 5 earned bronze. Last year SNHMC received silver recognition in the campaign, and in 2017, a bronze award.

“We are extremely proud of our staff and team members for helping families understand the importance of organ donation,” said Susan Diggins, RN, BSN, CPHQ, a Quality and Safety Coordinator at the medical center. “We know this is a difficult time for family members, but knowing their loved one’s death may help another person brings some level of comfort to them.”

According to the NEDS, two misconceptions are commonly cited for why families do not consider donating. Some worry if the health facility knows they are a donor, they won’t be cared for properly. In fact, the NEDS representatives who approach patient families do not share donation status with doctors.  Others mistakenly believe that their religion might be in conflict with donating. But nearly all religions support donating, NEDS says.

So far this year, SNHMC and Elliot Hospital donors provided the gift of life to individuals through donated organs and tissues, such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, corneas, and pancreas. There were a total of 16 donors at SNHMC and 11 donors at Elliot who were able to donate either organs or tissue during 2019.

Nashua resident Ron Rioux is a recipient of one of those gifts, a liver, transplanted nearly 20 years ago. Now age 76, and retired from his job, he can go to the gym multiple times a week and golfs weekly, too. “It’s a wonderful thing when people donate. People are waiting for a transplant and when someone gives, they’re actually saving a life,” he asserts. A regular volunteer at Donate Life events, encouraging signing up for the donor registry, Rioux remains forever grateful.

NEDS coordinates organ and tissue donation in the six New England states and Bermuda. Through its two affiliated organ procurement organizations, Life Choice Donor Services and New England Organ Bank and its centralized tissue donation services operation, it serves thousands of donor families each year who have generously decided to donate and honor wishes of those who registered as donors and gave the gift of life. Working sensitively with the donor families, they lead donation authorization discussions, maintain medical support of potential donors, coordinate recovery surgeries, and allocate organs according to the national transplant waiting list.

About SolutionHealth

SolutionHealth is a highly coordinated community-based regional health care network founded by Elliot Health System and Southern New Hampshire Health. Its purpose is to better serve the health care needs and interests of southern New Hampshire as a region by improving and increasing access, quality, value, and community benefits.