A compassionate journey part 1: preparing for and nearing end-of-life
Friday, September 2, 2016
Client attrition is high following pet loss. The reasons are multifactorial, but are influenced by the communication and management of the client during the period of the pet's passing. Providing exceptional client care around this time has a positive effect on the owner-practice relationship. The close bond between owners and their pets means this is a very sensitive time. The lack of societal acknowledgment of the importance of pet loss to the owner can result in disenfranchised grief. Engaging with the client proactively with a pet nearing its death can help to validate the owner's feelings. Research shows that pet owners would like this engagement to start earlier than is commonly done, so that they are prepared emotionally and practically for what is to happen. The veterinary nurse can play a very important role in end-of-life. Quality of life assessment, ideally started early when the pet is well, provides useful benchmarking of the health and wellbeing of the pet, and allows a gentle and valid reason for the veterinary professional to bring up the subject of death when the pet is nearing end-of-life.
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