Donation stakeholders

It takes a collective effort to be able to offer the gift of sight. Medical professionals play a vital role in the success of sight-restoring eye donation and transplantation. SightLife's specially trained staff works closely with our donation partners to help make sight possible for those in need. These partners include hospital nurses, chaplains, administrators, funeral directors, medical examiners and coroners.

During our partnership, we want to understand your challenges and share in this experience together. By aligning with you towards a common goal, we can together offer more families the opportunity to donate and help change someone's life.

We support you throughout the entire process. We'll handle donor medical screening, donor registry confirmation, family authorization and recovery team logistics. Our trained team of transplant donor coordinators work closely with prospective donor families over the phone to educate, counsel, empower and remind them that one donation can give two people the gift of sight. This team maintains some of the highest authorization rates in the country at over 70% and donor family satisfaction rates of 95%. This donation wouldn't be possible without you.

SightLife offers helpful guidelines to assist you. Contact your regional liaison for more information:

Helpful resources

Your involvement is needed for a successful donation process. Here is what it entails:

  • When a patient passes away, a member of the hospital staff calls their donor referral line. Making this call within one hour is very important so families are fully supported in their end-of-life decisions.
  • SightLife's trained staff will evaluate the patient for donation eligibility. Please do not assume that someone is ineligible for eye donation due to illness, injury or age.
  • Our transplant donor coordinator will establish roles, expectations and the next step of the process with the hospital.
  • We offer specific guidelines (SEE protocol & cooling methods) for preserving the corneas for donation.
  • SightLife's staff will coordinate the best plan for a family conversation about donation with the hospital staff. This begins with SightLife confirming the patient's donor registry status.
  • Our trained transplant donor coordinators educate and counsel grieving families over the phone, discussing the patient's registry status and cornea donation options.
  • Once the donation authorization is confirmed, SightLife makes arrangements for the recovery of corneas and initiates an extensive after-care plan for the family. The cornea recovery will most often take place at the hospital, but may be also be arranged with the family's chosen funeral home or at the local medical examiner or coroner's facility.
  • Questions about a current referral? Please call one of our transplant donor coordinators at 1-800-214-6356. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Donor designation and the law

When a person has indicated his or her decision to become a donor—most often done by indicating their wishes on their driver's license—they have made a legally binding commitment to make an anatomical gift. During such an emotional time, most families are relieved to know that the decision to donate has already been made by their loved one. However, there are times when a family may question that decision. In those instances, we’ll work closely with families to help them understand and follow the state laws that govern a person's decision to donate. Below are links to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) for the states in our region:

Conditions of participation (COP) for organ and tissue donation

COP is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that health care organizations must meet in order to begin and continue participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These health and safety standards are the foundation for improving quality and protecting the health and safety of beneficiaries. The COP that covers organ and tissue donation is intended to increase organ donation and save lives. All hospitals that receive Medicare reimbursement must identify and refer all deaths and imminent deaths to the local regional Donor Referral Line.

The COP requires hospitals to do the following:

  • Notify the designated Donor Referral Line of all individuals who have died or whose death is imminent. "Imminent death" is defined as a severely neurologically injured ventilator dependent patient with either a Glasgow Come Score </=5 or with discussion about withdrawal of support.
  • Ensure the family of each potential donor is informed of their option to donate by a donation agency coordinator or trained designated requestor.
  • Continue to apply discretion and sensitivity with respect to circumstances, views and beliefs of the families of potential donors.
  • Have an agreement with the designated organ procurement organization and at least one tissue and eye bank.
  • Maintain a cooperative working relationship with the donation agencies for: education of staff on donation issues, review of death records to improve identification of potential donors, and maintaining potential donors.
COP content used with permission from LifeCenter Northwest.

Vision awards for our hospital partners

SightLife is honored to be able to celebrate and acknowledge our hospital partners that achieve great success with a quality cornea donor program.