What Is Animal Hospice and Palliative Care? – Part II

“Supporting my animal friend through a hospice approach to care sounds right to me. What next?”

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Being supported by trusted veterinarians and other professionals is important to success in the hospice care you seek for your animal friend. (Photo: Carol Soukup)

Begin by making sure your animal friend is comfortable under the care of a trusted veterinary team. Pain management is critical to make hospice care work for your animal friend and your family. And if your animal’s pain can’t be managed, then loving, difficult decisions will need to be made. Seek supporters who can help you enact a plan quickly, and who will reassure you that you are doing the best you can do for your companion. Thus, creating a plan for hospice much before the time your friend becomes uncomfortable is critical to your success

If you already have a veterinarian who is supportive in providing the at-home caregiving that’s the hallmark of hospice, then you have the beginning of your “Team.” Look to him or her for education on your companion’s current condition and to learn about what to expect as it progresses. Explore all your options for care and begin to build a plan, or a roadmap, that allows you to journey alongside your loved one on your “path of least regrets.”

When done most effectively, and according to the Guidelines published by the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, hospice philosophy employs an interdisciplinary team of care providers. Consider looking beyond your trusted vet’s services to find additional comfort on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Investigate the potential benefits through alternative therapies from a holistic vet or explore allied animal services like massage therapy for them (and for you!)

Remember: if you feel supported from your regular vet and want to continue care under them, by all means, don't change a thing in that regard. In seeking the holistically minded opinions of others, you are simply adding another team member who might contribute to comfort. Alternative therapies like acupuncture and laser treatments can be very effective as your animal friend's vitality diminishes. Best of all, these therapies are painless and have no side effects in our animals with the diminishing vitality that comes with end-of-life. With one veterinarian on your team, you can also seek services of trusted providers

In our next blog, we will comment further upon the benefits of an interdisciplinary team of providers in preserving “Care for the Caregiver” and your family’s well- being in the hospice journey. Please contact Michelle at michelle@ahelpproject.org if you have any questions.


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