End of Life Care

12 Resources on End of Life Care

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Tender Mercies

Veterinarians are increasingly focusing on ways to offer quality end-of-life care for pets. For instance, membership in the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) has grown from 25 members in 2008 to nearly 400 members in early 2016. Practices report success offering at-home hospice care and euthanasia, pet loss support groups, and classes for senior dogs to increase mobility, as well as exploring alternative modalities like acupuncture, e-stim, and laser...

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Pet hospice: Targeted care, comfort, and support at the end of life

All pets eventually die. This we know. Sometimes, it’s a sudden and shocking exit. Sometimes, it’s a long time coming. Either way, veterinary patients and clients require more attention and support at this important juncture. It’s easy to think of the end as simply the final appointment. Those breaking ground in the field of palliative and hospice care for pets see it as so much more. It’s about spending more time, paying attention to the details, providing comfort and support, and knowing...

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Sedation Protocols for Euthanasia

A peaceful euthanasia is what every owner wishes for their pet and what every veterinarian should strive for. Sedation before euthanasia, specifically intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SC) sedation given its gradual onset, is slowly becoming more routine, and appropriately so. In addition to allowing for minimal restraint of the pet during euthanasia, it provides the family with one last glimpse of their pet in a calm, relaxed, painless state. Time and again, this proves to be the most...

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Children and End of Life

The decision to have children involved and/or present during the end of life care period of a pet’s life is a very important one. Every family has their own wishes and boundaries that must be respected, but as veterinary professionals we should be comfortable giving our honest opinion, if asked. For veterinarians without children of their own, this can be a daunting conversation though. Remembering just a few basic tips will help you navigate this arena much more easily. After years of...

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Helping the Undecided Client

In our veterinary hospice practice, we are finding a great number of families that wish to keep their pet alive for as long as possible. As our furry family members continue to be elevated in their social and familial status (they’re now sleeping in our beds instead of the backyard!), we will continue to see this trend markedly increase. As a veterinary hospice practitioner, I am able and willing to help extend life as long as pain and anxiety are controlled, but this is always preceded by a...

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Art of Euthanasia

The euthanasia appointment is unparalleled in emotion and sentiment. There are few things in veterinary medicine, or life moreover, that require as many outward displays of empathy, compassion, and commiseration from a doctor. The tone of voice, delivery of words, bedside manner with both patient and client, and the ability to honor moments special to the family become a delicate dance around death that the doctor and staff should carefully choreograph and continually improve. The client...

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End of Life Considerations for Cats

Veterinarians' role in helping clients make decisions about their cat's end of life invariably involves discussing and struggling with the option to intervene and end a patient's suffering and life by euthanasia. In this presentation techniques for handling appropriate and inappropriate expectations on the part of humans will be made understandable. Educating, listening, guiding, and facilitating skills will be discussed and interactive problem solving will reinforce the concepts. By working...

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It Takes A Village - Bringing Veterinary Hospice To Your Clinic

chapter-328 Almost every time the door opens, I am greeted with a crying client. As a veterinarian that limits my practice to in-home hospice and euthanasia, it is something I encounter daily with my families. In those moments, I give a warm smile, a gentle handshake, and in many cases, a big hug.Although the majority of our appointments are for euthanasia, we also offer veterinary hospice care to our concerned pet parents. However, veterinary hospice is still very...

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Assessing Quality of Life

Melinda’s phone call to me started off as most of our calls do, with lots of heartfelt tears. It was clear Melinda needed support and additional education through this tough time. Chance, her 4-year-old male Staffordshire terrier, greeted me at the door for our in-home hospice consultation, clearly unconcerned that he has both severe mitral and tricuspid valve insufficiency, along with atrial fibrillation. Melinda understood the gravity of his condition and was well-coached by the...

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Adding Hospice Services to Your Practice: Maintaining Quality Care Until the Very End

Ready to offer more to your ailing patients as they approach the end of life? Come and learn how your team can better support both the pet and family during this critical time. We will discuss care plans, building the team, and basic requirements to get you started. Download the PDF of Adding Hospice Services to Your Practice: Maintaining Quality Care Until the Very End Speaker Bio:Dr. Kathleen Cooney is founder and owner of Home to Heaven, P.C., an in-home pet hospice...

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