Donor Care unit in Cincinnati

A Donor Care Unit (DCU) is a dedicated space reserved for the care of organ donors. The 2022 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Report recommended Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), such as LifeCenter, establish DCUs.

In this area, teams are able to provide the most efficient services that result in more lives saved through transplantation. LifeCenter’s DCU will be at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Please contact LifeCenter’s Hospital Services team if you have any questions. We are always happy to help. Please email, or call 513-558-5000.

Through the DCU, LifeCenter's goal is to:

  • Increase the number of organs transplant to save more lives
  • Foster innovation in organ rehabilitation and improve donor intervention
  • Offer continued support and space for donor families.
  • Provide consistent and reliable organ donor processes
  • Ensure imaging and diagnostics to evaluate organ function as well as Operating Room (OR) space for the procurement surgery are available 24/7/365

How does a dCU Help Donor Families?

A benefit of the DCU is family support: DCUs allow for a faster organ recovery process. The time required to complete the process is often a barrier for families to move forward with donation. This means families can bring their loved one’s home sooner.

Families have expressed relief when they can say goodbye to their loved ones at the hospital ICU, and then return to their homes.
Frequently Asked Questions

In the United States, 24 of the 56 OPOs have active DCUs, as of December 2022. A majority of the remaining OPOs report current or pending development of DCUs.

Not at all. Hospitals in LifeCenter’s service area provide phenomenal patient care and have developed excellent donation programs. LifeCenter is grateful for its partnerships with all the hospitals within its service area. This change will only build upon the commitment to organ, eye and tissue donation that hospitals have already demonstrated, and the donor and family care they provide.

Life-saving donation is only possible because hospital care teams believe in it, provide exceptional care, support donation opportunities, and notify LifeCenter of potential donors. These elements make it possible for selfless individuals and families to save lives, while also creating a legacy of hope and healing. Hospital care teams share that it is an honor to care for patients and their families at pivotal moments in their lives. That will not change.

Current practices to honor the donor, family, and their legacy will continue. Donors initiated at each hospital will be attributed to hospital donation program outcomes, and the initiating hospital location will be used for allocation location.

The following flowchart provides instructions on how the transfer may or may not look like, depending on the case.

Nationally, most families have said goodbye to their loved one at the originating hospital prior to their loved one’s transfer to the DCU. Additionally, families have shared a sense of relief when they are provided the guidance that they can say goodbyes and return to their homes. Therefore, travel will not be offered to families as standard.

LifeCenter will continue to reimburse the initiating hospital charges that are related to donation. Hospitals will not lose reimbursement opportunity by transferring donors.

LifeCenter arranges transport to the funeral home the family has selected. All donation-related costs are covered by LifeCenter. No donation-related expenses are covered by the families.

Reach out to your LifeCenter Hospital Services contact.

Our Hospital Services team are a resource for the more than 50 hospitals in our service area. They help hospitals maintain their donor programs by assisting with policy and protocol development, analyzing data, preparing for regulatory surveys, and providing education on the donation process.

The Hospital Services Team


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