People in NSW are being urged to talk about organ donation

Have the talk: Donation specialist nurse Vanessa Palmer. Registering as an organ donor gives hope to the 1600 Australians and their families that are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

Have the talk: Donation specialist nurse Vanessa Palmer. Registering as an organ donor gives hope to the 1600 Australians and their families that are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

If anyone knows the importance of talking about organ and tissue donation, it is donation specialist nurse Vanessa Palmer.

Her role - working across the entire south-west region - is to help families through the organ donation process when their loved one has passed away.

She has one message to the community to coincide with DonateLife Week which concluded on Sunday: "Have the difficult conversation today."

"It's very hard for families when they don't know what their loved one would have wanted and to make that decision. They have to go off how well they know their loved one and that can be easy for some families but for other families it can be quite difficult," she said.

"Its a lot easier to have that conversation with your family beforehand, so in the event that anything should happen to you, your family know what you would have wanted.

"It's a very difficult decision conversation to have with your family because you don't really want to talk about what you would want if you were to pass away."

Ms Palmer, who is based at Liverpool Hospital, has been in the role for four years and speaks to families about the potential for organ and tissue donation. Her team also raises awareness about the topic to the multicultural communities of south-west Sydney.

"We help them make the decision that is best for them," she said.

Only one in three NSW residents are registered to be an organ donor.

  • To join the Australian Organ Donor Register visit donatelife.gov.au. You can no longer register via your driver's licence in NSW.