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The National Deceased Donation Course for Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) Trainees

"One of the best courses I have attended, high quality is mainly driven by the enthusiasm and great knowledge of the faculty members and leads in the subject of organ donation" - Delegate feedback, submitted anonymously

Why do deceased donation simulation?

A simulated donor assessment
A simulated donor assessment

Deceased donation occurs at times of significant family distress.

It is often not appropriate for junior staff to lead a donation discussion with families. Training in this area is, therefore, not easily facilitated in the clinical arena.

Simulation allows staff training and development in a safe environment whilst enacting real-time events.

The importance of deceased donation simulation

Organ and tissue donation is an important aspect of end-of-life care. In the United Kingdom the General Medical Council establishes a duty of medical practitioners to identify potential organ donors, be prepared to explore the option of deceased donation when a patient is close to death and follow any national donation procedures (GMC Treatment and care towards end of life: good practice in decision making, 2010).

Deceased donation is ethically, legally and emotionally complex. Healthcare professionals can find deceased donation stressful and the shift in focus from one of cure to one of care is a challenge, even to those with many years of experience.

Staff involved in deceased donation require expert levels of knowledge and skills in communication. The Department of Health Organ Donation Taskforce report (2008) recognised this need and made the following recommendation:

"All clinical staff likely to be involved in the treatment of organ donors should receive mandatory training in the principles of donation."

Simulated donor optimisation
Simulated donor optimisation
Faculty in discussion during simulation
Faculty in discussion during simulation

The need for expert knowledge and communication skills is also recognised by the publication of NICE guidance (2011).

The falling incidence of death determined by neurological criteria in the UK means that there are fewer opportunities to witness neurological death testing and subsequent donation care.

Donation following treatment withdrawal presents its own level of ethical, legal, professional and emotional complexity.

The high-fidelity simulation environment is already a proven effective educational tool in intensive care training. Used in non-crisis simulation, such as deceased donation, it is equally valuable.

About this course

This course has been developed with engagement from the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) and the Intensive Care Society (ICS), and covers Domain 8 of the FICM syllabus: End of Life Care.

  • Free 2-day national course
    • Day 1: class room-based learning with a mix of delivery methods
    • Day 2: simulation using 8 engaging scenario stations to experience donation practice
    • No assessment criteria are used during the course
  • Includes accommodation & meals
  • Experienced and expert faculty
  • Consistently evaluated as excellent

2020 dates

We apologise, due to COVID-19 unfortunately all of our current scheduled courses are suspended.

All candidates previously booked on this course are now awaiting new dates and will have priority booking. However, new dates for 2021/2022 are due to be finalised and will be released shortly. On publication new applicants may apply and places will be offered on a first come, first served basis once those waiting have had the opportunity to be accommodated.

Thank you so much for your patience and we look forward to meeting you soon.

Course objectives

To develop knowledge and skills within and around:

  • Organ donation principles and practice
  • Safely diagnosing death
  • End of life & family donation discussions
  • Withdrawal of life sustaining treatment in DCD
  • The capacity to make informed ethical and legal choices in the context of organ donation and wider ICM practice
  • The ability to work productively with others, particularly Specialist Nurses

How to apply

This course is suitable for trainees in either paediatric or adult intensive care medicine. Priority is given to ST5+.


To apply, or request more information:

Email us or call 0191 202 4515