Mission: Lifelink foundation is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy. The foundation works in a sensitive, diligent, and compassionate manner to facilitate the donation of desperately needed organs and tissues for waiting patients, supports research efforts to enhance the available supply of organs and tissue for transplant patients, improves clinical outcomes of patients post transplantation, and works closely with the united network for organ sharing (unos) to support its goals.
Programs: Organ procurement organizations: florida, georgia, puerto ricolifelink foundation's organ procurement organizations (opos) work with hospitals and the united network for organ sharing to provide life-saving organs and tissue for transplantation. The foundation's opos are tireless in their efforts to turn a person's decision to be an organ and tissue donor into a life-saving gift for the many potential recipients on the unos waiting list. Last year, lifelink of georgia created deeper relationships with their hospital partners. Expanding the donor resource nurse program, a forum which educates nurses about the donation process and creates nurse champions within each hospital, has resulted in nurses receiving public recognition for their hard work by lifelink and their employers, as well as acknowledgment as subject matter experts. Georgia had the honor of hosting former surgeon general, admiral kenneth moritsugu, for professional and public education events, including donate life activities and grand rounds at hospitals throughout the state to increase visibility and media opportunities for organ and tissue donation education. Lifelink of georgia's advisory board was diversified with the addition of new members. Lifelink of florida focused on strengthened education for medical professionals and partners about the organ and tissue donation process. Lifelink of florida once again presented their regional learning conference, featuring multi-disciplinary speakers to equip hospital staff with the knowledge they need when working with donor patients. Another initiative provided detailed information on brain death pronouncement to intensive care physicians to better prepare them to work with families and the donor program to facilitate donation. In addition to educational opportunities, lifelink of florida continues to have active donation advisory committees in large hospitals, which implement many initiatives supporting donation, including activities such as raising a donate life flag in honor of each person that gives the life-saving gift of organ donation. As time marches forward, puerto rico's recovery efforts continue to grow. Lifelink of puerto rico now employs 58 people, and they work closely with the island's trauma center to create more visible processes and donation education for the staff. The implementation of streamlined processes throughout puerto rico, and across other lifelink opos has improved efficiency and donor recovery efforts. The stephanie senior memorial award program was held in october and provided an excellent education offering of hospitals in our service area. Lifelink of puerto rico also welcomed a new executive director to the team, antonia devera. As the upcoming year unfolds, the former executive director will transition to her new role as senior vice president, executive director emeritus, and will concentrate her efforts on providing quality educational opportunities for nursing and medical students ensuring that donor management is incorporated in their curriculum. Lifelink of florida, lifelink of georgia and lifelink of puerto rico were recertified by the center for medicare and medicaid services. And, the addition of itransplant, a clinical and operational enterprise management system, has continued to benefit each division. Providing access to timely and accurate information, itransplant has improved internal communication and enhanced the facilitation of information to our transplant partners since its adoption. Lifelink continues to celebrate its hospitals, medical examiners, funeral home partners and coroners through national and local recognitions, including the workplace partnership for life and in newsletters.
tissue bank:the lifelink tissue bank provides life-enhancing tissue grafts to patients in need and takes pride in maintaining the safest, most clinically effective allografts possible. To meet this goal, the lifelink tissue bank has doubled the space and staff devoted to research and development. These employees are dedicated to discovering more effective ways to provide tissue grafts to the people who need them as quickly as possible, with no loss in efficacy or safety. In addition to research, lifelink tissue bank partners with outside organizations to provide advanced grafts for patients. In conjunction with exactech, the tissue bank began processing an allograft based medical device for use in dental surgery. This is the first project of this type for the tissue bank. A new spinal graft was also introduced last year, which was specifically created for use in small spaces during spinal surgeries. The graft can be compressed to be placed in hard to reach places and, once in place, naturally expands back to its original state, filling the contours of the void and minimizing the space between the graft and the patient's own bone tissue. Relating to patient safety, and also in order to provide potential donor families with the beset donation experience possible, lifelink tissue bank began rapid hepatitis c testing of all donors to detect and screen out donors positive for disease-related antibodies. This eliminates the possibility of recovering tissue that would later be deemed ineligible for transplant without later disappointing the donor's family. This also creates a safer recovery environment for employees and increases lifelink tissue bank's ability to provide safe tissue grafts thanks to the hundreds of people who donate tissue each year. Realizing the importance of honor the gift that tissue donors provide, lifelink tissue bank continues to focus on process improvement. The lean program, instituted the previous year, has made significant impacts on efficiency at the lifelink tissue bank and enables more lives to be touched through the generous gifts of tissue donation.
transplantation immunology laboratory:charged with ensuring each recipient is matched with a compatible donor, the lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory has a big responsibility. They provide services to six hospitals, and last year evaluated 1,719 potential transplant patients and administered 14,582 tests for pre-transplant patients. Each test helps ensure that patients listed for a life-saving transplant will be matched with the best donor available. Caring for patients is just one of the many duties performed by the lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory; they also play an active role in furthering the science of transplantation. The lifelink legacy fund provided a grant to research the occurrence of acute rejection in transplant patients, which will allow us to understand rejection, as well as potential treatments to mitigate its occurrence. The lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory is currently working with a small segment of patients to determine an effective treatment for rejection, and the preliminary data is encouraging. In addition to furthering research for transplant patients, lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory helps educate students. Boasting a robust program for medical students, residents and fellows, the lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory prepares the future leaders of organ and tissue donation to save lives. Lifelink's corporate headquarters marked a new era with regards to lifelink transplantation immunology laboratory's physical space. A new laboratory designed specifically for them is customized to their processes, procedures and regulations. Not only that, but backup generators and air conditioners maintain temperature requirements, allowing for the continued operation during inclement weather and/or natural disasters.