Please take advantage of our 30-40 minute complimentary phone call with AHELP director and Care Coordinator, Michelle Nichols. Many families find that discussing their three greatest concerns and caregiving issues can set them on their way to a smoother hospice and palliative care journey.
When caregivers' and pets' needs are more involved, most families find much satisfaction and comfort in our Comprehensive Care Home Visits. Suggested fees for AHELP services range from $265-345 and include the veterinarian's service fees, which cannot be discounted. There is a $20 travel fee within a 5-mile radius of downtown Bellevue, with increments of $5 for each 5 miles.
Please see below for more on our "Help for Animal Hospice Caregivers Fund."
Your AHELP Care Coordinator is Michelle Nichols, MS. Your AHELPer volunteer will be chosen based upon location and the best match with you and your pet's needs (eg: massage therapy, energy work, or veterinary background). Please meet our AHELPer volunteers on the "Our Community of AHELPers" page
The Comprehensive Care Home Visit includes:
- Your entire AHELP Care Team: AHELP Care Coordinator, veterinarian, and your AHELPer volunteer
- Veterinary Quality of Life Assessment, with all AHELP Care Team members to ensure the best understanding
- Up to 2 hours of additional in-person emotional support with an AHELP Care Coordinator and AHELPer volunteer
- Services by an AHELPer best suited to your needs: massage therapy, energy work, or family services
- Over 30 pages of materials designed to assist you in constructing of an End-of-Life Care Plan (see Follow-up Home Visits below)
- Ongoing care coordination to enhance communication between you, all your veterinarians and AHELP Professional Network Members
- Unlimited direct support of a trained and supervised AHELPer volunteer who is a massage therapy or energy work professional dedicated to your family's care
- Unlimited email and phone support
- Spiritual counseling by phone
- 2 hours of grief and bereavement phone support
Follow-up Home Visits are an additional $150 and either follow a Comprehensive Care Home Visit or a veterinary clinic appointment where we're in attendance. Follow-ups do not include veterinary care. Veterinary follow-up appointments are arranged directly with veterinarians' practices and all records are shared with members of the AHELP Care Team.
The goal of the Follow-up Home Visit is to develop a complete End-of-Life Care Plan. Included:
- AHELP Care Coordinator Michelle Nichols will meet you at your home OR following a Comprehensive Care Home Visit, we'll meet you at your veterinarian's appointment.
- If possible, the AHELPer volunteer will offer skills and talents that can benefit your animal companion's well-being.
- Review of history and home problem-solving.
- 2 hours of grief support
- Additional education on natural death, if desired.
- Detailed planning assistance.
- Distribution of written plan.
- Additional spiritual counseling.
- Our creative therapy in can be offered in conjunction, or in a future appointment, depending upon interest. You may choose from adult coloring or decorating a paper mache memory box that you can complete after our visit.
Our phone and email consultations can help you problem solve urgent concerns and offer you referrals to our trusted Professional Network providers. The most commonly requested needs are from caregivers looking for an urgent euthanasia, a special needs pet sitter, or companionship for caregivers whose animals are in the final stages of dying and are under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Phone consults are offered in 30-minute increments at $60/hour, and may be arranged separately or after a Comprehensive Care or Follow-up Home Visit.
*HELP FOR ANIMAL HOSPICE CAREGIVERS FUND*
Thanks to the nature of our nonprofit and donations from our community, our "Help for Animal Hospice Caregivers Fund" can contribute to the fees to cover emotional, spiritual, and decision-making support for family caregivers. When recommended by a veterinarian, the Fund can also cover certain services that contribute to comfort by our Professional Network Members. We're happy to talk to you about these services in our 30-40 minute initial phone consultation.
We look forward to hearing from you and being "a Help" to you, your family, and your animal companion.
How will I get over the loss of my best friend? We in AHELP have come to know that you don’t get OVER a loss; you get THROUGH your loss…
We commonly hear, "what can I do to feel better?" In this post we offer a few practical tips that can be "a Help" to you and your family during the hospice period and after their passing.
A ceremony at your companion's favorite spot can be a valuable in helping you get closure after their passing. Michelle Nichols and her daughter Zoe sprinkle Sora's cremains at the beach she had loved. (Photo: Chris Nichols)Read more
Get Involved. Make a difference. Be part of our Professional Network or become an AHELPer Volunteer. Signup today - Professional Network Signup, AHELPer Volunteer Signup, Get Our Newsletter and/or keep up with our Caregivers' Tips and Tails Blog. Also, learn about our new partnership with PrizedPals - an online network of support by creating your own CareCorral.
|Meet Our Community of AHELPers|
Also, take a look at our Upcoming Events to see if you would like to join us for Caregiver Support Circles or AHELP Special Events. Please contact Michelle at [email protected] if you are interested in sponsorship. Help spread the word (below):Start recruiting
When the goal of care shifts from cure to comfort, tools and guidance from our AHELP Comprehensive Care Team will care for you as you care for your animal. Our “care for the caregiver” will allow you to adapt to twists and turns in the end-of-life journey. Quality of life for your dog, cat or horse is maximized as we work within the veterinary care plan with regular check-ins, tools for planning, tips for home care and strategies to help you navigate as issues come up. We ensure communication through interdisciplinary teamwork principles. Professional Network family service providers help you cope with daily challenges, assuring your confident caregiving. Professional counselors offer your family grief and bereavement support. Your Care Team is there for you with "A Help" when you most need it with 24/7 weekday availability and on weekends, too.
Comfort. Choices. Empowerment.
Help your animal companion achieve COMFORT by building a solid plan with a veterinarian, or vet tech who first consults with your regular vet. AHELP's Comprehensive Care Home Visits are centered around your animal companion and your entire family's circumstances. Your AHELP Care Team will include an AHELP Care Coordinator who is a professional counselor, an AHELPer volunteer who is assigned only to you and a veterinarian best suited to your situation. You will have access our spiritual counselor through personal phone visits and our monthly Seattle Support Circle.
What you can Expect
With veterinary recommendations from your animal companion's quality of life assessment, you and your Care Team will evaluate your choices and build a plan according to your wishes. When the appropriate times come, the AHELP Care Team will support you in your decision making and assist while you enact the steps in that plan. You will feel the satisfaction that comes in knowing that you paid a worthy tribute to the life shared with your animal companion. You'll likely describe the experience of providing this care as transformative, empowering, and true to your love for them.
Through this process of achieving comfort and quality of life, weighing your choices, visualizing your journey, and being empowered to act on your plans at the appropriate times, you will be most likely be able to follow your "path of least regrets." Healing from the inevitable loss of your animal family member comes naturally and at your own pace.
"All we want is for him to be comfortable and happy until his time here with us is done."
We at AHELP Project want comfort for pets and their people, too. To meet our common goals, the animal hospice and palliative care we deliver through our Comprehensive Care Home Visits can offer the same for our furry family members as our human loved ones had while in hospice. Without this comfort and care at this point in their journey, caregivers are too often forced to make difficult decisions before they and their animal friend are ready.
An interdisciplinary team that provides families' emotional and spiritual care is now a veterinary standard of care.
As the end becomes near for their pet, caregivers rely upon top-notch animal hospitals whose practices are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA.com). AAHA's 2016 Guidelines for End-of-Life Care call for a team that includes a hospice-oriented housecall veterinarian, a mental health professional and other spiritual supporters when appropriate. The features included in AHELP Project’s Caregiver Support Program serve to meet these standards of care.
Our AHELP Care Team includes trusted veterinarians.
AHELP seeks to share the care for these veterinarians so that they can focus on what they do best: provide physical care and comfort for your pet. Our professional mental health and spiritual care providers will support you as you support your animal family member. These providers walk beside you along your journey so you will feel confident and prepared to act upon your plan when the appropriate times come.
You are assured to get the comprehensive family care that's specified by the Practice Guidelines.
AHELP is committed to overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of animal hospice caregiving families getting the support they need during this tender time. To realize our vision of keeping costs low, we have a trained and managed team of AHELPer volunteers who work alongside the AHELP Care Coordinator and Care Team Professionals.
|“Our society's human loved ones experience a peaceful transition through hospice care. We want to offer families the same gentle, dignified decline for their animal family members, too.”
- AHELP Project Care Team
AHELP was launched with our Inaugural Workshop in September 2010 by seven co-founders who sought to share their vision for end-of-life care with the greater Seattle community. The Workshop was a sell-out success and the co-founders realized the power of their message. Today, four of the founders remain active in AHELP's mission and vision, and our community is comprised entirely of anywhere between 15-20 active "AHELPer" volunteers who continue development of AHELP's three programs: 1) Events, 2) Animal Caregiver Support, and 3) Professional Network.
We have been a local authority on animal hospice awareness and education for over six years. AHELP was a grassroots movement in King and Snohomish counties for three years, and then we became a charitable non-profit organization in 2013. By the end of 2016, AHELPers produced and hosted 27 awareness and educational events. AHELP’s monthly Animal Caregivers Circle began offering group support in 2011 in Kirkland and since 2012 in Seattle.
|Meet Our Community of AHELPers|
Our vision is to build a community of like-minded animal lovers who may support one another in their times of need. To this end, all of our events are intended to bring friends together and invite in new ones, so they can meet people who understand what they are going through and know where to turn when they need us. Each and every one of our events is pet-friendly.
Since 2013, we have been assisting families individually via email and phone support, and since 2015 we have been seeing families and their pets where they most need people; in their homes.