Frequently Asked Questions For Patient Referrals
Learn more about how body donation works and the benefits to both the donor family and the medical community.
If someone has already passed, they can still become a whole body donor. However, MedCure should be contacted immediately to increase the likelihood of acceptance. Also, if a patient is currently receiving hospice care and/or is close to passing, MedCure should be contacted immediately. Donation Coordinators are available 24 hours a day to assist in the completion and submission of necessary consent forms.
When a patient is receiving hospice care or has a terminal illness, it is best to call us to begin the registration process. This way, our staff will be able to assist your patient or family in a more timely manner. During this call, our Donation Coordinators will complete the eligibility screening, review our Terms and Conditions, explain how to fill out our consent forms, and go over what to do at the time of passing.
There are only three options that a person has in relation to their final disposition, which is Burial, Cremation or Donation. People already know about burial and cremation. In our experience, people do not know about body donation until someone like you tells them about it. That is where hospice and hospital employees, funeral directors, and other end-of-life care professionals come in. If you are interested in learning more about presenting the idea of body donation to your patients or to families, you can register for one of our webinars or schedule an in-service with one of our Education Directors.
You can download our consent form from our website, or you can contact us to have them faxed, emailed, or mailed to you. If you need help filling out the forms, please give us a call and we can walk you through it. Because our form often has to be updated to meet changing regulations, we advise that you always print the form from our website shortly before giving it to a patient or family. The form on our website will always be the most up-to-date.
If someone has a Health Care Power of Attorney (HPOA) or similar document that will allow them to make decisions on behalf of your patient, then they can sign the consent forms prior to your patient passing. However, we ask that they send the HPOA document to us for review before signing. This way we can verify that the document is valid for our purposes.
If there is no HPOA in place for your patient, then their legal Next of Kin can sign the consent forms, but only after your patient has passed.
Most people who wish to donate are eligible. MedCure has no upper age restrictions and can accept donations from individuals with a wide variety of medical conditions. The most common reasons for a decline include a diagnosis of certain communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, history of intravenous (IV) drug use, recent prolonged incarceration, institutionalization, or homelessness, and being severely over or under weight at the time of passing. MedCure accepts donors from all states within the continental United States except New Jersey, Minnesota, North Dakota and Arkansas.
After a patient has registered with MedCure, our Donation Coordinators will reach out to the medical treating facility to let them know that their patient is a registered MedCure donor. Then, they will either fax or email one of our MedCure Donor Flyers, which can be added to the patient’s chart and give the medical staff instructions on what to do at the time of death.
Since MedCure is a for-profit organization, we can’t accept financial donations. However, there are several non-profit organizations and charities out there that accept financial donations to help support medical research.
MedCure can provide donor families with a letter containing general information about the types of research and/or educational programs that their loved one’s donation has benefited. Unfortunately, we MedCure cannot guarantee matching a donation with a specific type of research or organization. Placement largely depends on current medical research and training needs at the time of one’s passing. Also, since there is no autopsy performed as part of the donation process, we are unable to provide information regarding diagnoses or cause of death in these letters.
It does take some time for us to gather all of this information from the researchers and educators that we work with, so please be advised that this letter can take between 8 – 12 months to be sent to the family. If a donor family is interested in receiving this letter, they can call our Donation Coordination team any time after their loved one’s passing to request it over the phone.
After completing the eligibility screening at the time of passing, MedCure will make arrangements for transportation and care. MedCure covers transportation expenses once acceptance is determined at time of final transportation to a MedCure facility. Donor families are encouraged to not contact a funeral home themselves at the time of passing.
Once a MedCure donor is accepted at the time of final transportation, all donation-related expenses will be covered. These include transportation arrangements, one certified copy of the death certificate, cremation, and either the return of the cremated remains to the family or placement in an ossuary.
Families typically receive the death certificate (DC) within 4 to 6 weeks, depending upon which county or state is processing the DC. Cremated remains are sent to the family within an average of about 5 months after the time of passing.
Open casket funerals are not possible with whole body donation. However, many families choose to hold a memorial service after they receive cremated remains.