End of Life Options
Hospice and Palliative Care
When you feel there is no medical treatments left to help your pet, there is one more thing we can do, Hospice Care.
We define hospice care as humane, dignified end of life veterinary care that keeps the patient’s comfort at the fore front until natural death occurs or the decision to euthanize has been made. During this period, geriatric medicine, pain management, critical care and complementary therapies for patients can be included in the patients care, as well as education and guiding people through their beloved pet’s care and the end-of-life process.
- Medicate-we will assist you in identifying, predicting and treating pain and anxiety in your pet. We have daily diary sheets and a quality of life scale for you to record your observations. Our goal for your pet is quality time not quantity of time. (The quality of life scale will help you track pain, appetite, incontinence, mobility and happiness)
- Meditate-this encompasses the discussions and education you, as the client, will receive during the difficult time leading up to natural death or the decision to euthanize.
- Basic hygiene will be discussed. We also have print outs for the most common conditions that would be associated with hospice care.
- Acupuncture and /or physical therapy may be recommended for some patients. Specific exercises and massage therapy can be taught to you as another method of pain relief.
- Mitigate-to assist the client in the decision to euthanize their pet. The option for home euthanasia or euthanasia at our hospital is available. Euthanasia is not a failure, but a treatment option. Euthanasia is not a cruel choice but rather a compassionate option.
The Enrollment Process
To be in the hospice program your pet needs a referral from a Veterinarian, from our practice or outside of this practice. If outside our practice, an appointment would need to be scheduled with one of our vets, either in hospital or as a house call.
Once there is a patient/client/ doctor relationship, a technician can then be scheduled to come to your house. The tech will evaluate the environment; to be sure it is the best environment to help your pet to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. For example: a simple change like yoga mats on a hardwood floor may be a recommended. Client education, reviewing symptoms of the disease, reviewing medication schedules and methods, wound treatment, discussing monitoring pain, etc. will be reviewed. No question is too insignificant to ask and discuss with your technician.
You will also receive a phone number to reach someone after hours. A schedule will then be set up for future appointments with a technician to continue home care of your pet.
For more information or if you have questions, you can contact Karen Gustafson, LVT by phone at 302-998-2995 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.