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For Hospital Professionals

Donor Care Units in Upper Midwest

Donor care units (DCU) are dedicated clinical facilities focused on providing optimal and efficient care of organ donors prior to organ donation as well as the most advanced organ recovery techniques, which can improve the opportunities for organs to be successfully transplanted into waiting recipients.

Please don’t hesitate to call your LifeSource Donation Liaison for general information or call LifeSource at 1-800-247-4273 for real-time assistance. Your responsibility is to educate yourself on the policies and procedures at your hospital, specifically.

LifeSource, Mayo Clinic and M Health Fairview to Establish “Donor Care Units”

In July 2023, LifeSource, Mayo Clinic and M Health Fairview announced a collaboration to create a system of “Donor Care Units” to increase the number of lives saved through organ donation in the upper Midwest.

How DCUs Work:

  • Individuals who have authorized organ donation (by registering on their driver’s license or the online donor registry; or their family authorizes on their behalf at the time of death) and meet donation criteria (brain death or non-survivable injury) are transferred from a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) to a dedicated donor care unit at Mayo Clinic or M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center.
  • Hospitals will still conduct typical ceremonies to honor donors – like an honor walk or flag raising – as part of the donor transfer to a DCU.
  • Donor care, organ health management, matching/allocation and recovery will occur at the DCU.

Benefits of DCUs include:

  • Increased capacity at donor hospital facilities: Transferring to a DCU improves access to critical care beds and operating room facilities at the referring hospital. Donors will still be attributed to the hospital where the donor referral was made, not by where the recovery occurs.
  • More organs recovered; more lives saved: DCUs will have dedicated donor management staff and facilities including sophisticated imaging and diagnostic equipment (such as X-ray, bronchoscopy, CT scanner, cardiac catheterization labs and point-of-care laboratory services). Devices – like organ care systems – may also be housed onsite.
  • Family support: DCUs also allow for a faster organ recovery, which benefits donor families: the time required to complete the process – including securing the OR space and surgical team – is often why families decline donation.
Frequently Asked Questions

Donor Care Units Explained

Transfers to Mayo Clinic Donor Care Unit: Presentation & Discussion with Hospitals

*Note: This presentation focused on education surrounding transfers to Mayo Clinic.


Have Questions?

Reach out to your LifeSource liaison.

Our hospital liaisons are a resource for more than 270 hospitals in our region. They help hospitals maintain their donation programs by assisting with policy and protocol development, analyzing data, preparing for regulatory surveys and providing education on the donation process.