It takes a takes a team.

WHY plan for Hospice Care across the Lifespan? 



Michelle Nichols, MS

AHELP Director and Co-founder

In our last entry, guest blogger Patty Ann Sparano discussed the importance of caring for your pet with the end in mind. AHELP Director talks about WHY this is so important.


Even before your furry friend is ailing, teach your family and trusted caregivers how to provide the care you want for your animal friend. They will be prepared to deliver the same care to your pet when you most need them. Following his surgery, Zoe Nichols confidently gives Rex a lavender oil massage. (Credit: Michelle Nichols)

We come into this world with a kick and a scream. Some say “it takes a village” for the physical comfort and emotional well being of a child. With our love and devotion, a child’s journey is full of lessons and triumphs. We grow up. We thrive and eventually become the healthy adults we are today. When the time comes to shift our focus to our beloved elders, we seek the care they deserve from their lifetime of commitment to our family. In hospice and palliative care philosophy, we will hopefully find excellent end-of-life services focused on comfort for them and for our own family, too.

How do you describe your furry, feathered or scaled one? If you’re reading this, you probably call them an animal friend or companion, and consider them an equal family member. As their guardian, you want the same level of care as benefitted your human loved ones.

Guardians like you want to do more for your animal family once the focus shifts from sure to comfort, and animal hospice and palliative care gives them the means to do so. But does the hospice experience look the same for humans as well as our animal companions? Not exactly. Now’s the time to plan. 

It takes a village….it takes a team.

Now’s the time to plan. We only have ourselves to call upon. Insurance and governmental funding provides for an interdisciplinary team approach that is the hallmark of hospice and palliative care. But as pet parents we have no similar assurance we'll have the support needed to care for your animal family when those critical times come. This is a lengthy process and we know from our own experience that support from those who “get it” can make all the difference in your preparation in the end-of-life journey.

When health and life, illness and death are so uncertain, how can we plan?

We can’t anticipate the way the journey will progress and eventually end. However, we can predict the following truths will come with the decline of our animal friends. Comfort for people and their pets are the reasons WHY we at AHELP believe in a plan. We are like you and:

  • we want to be sure our animal friends are comfortable.
  • we need to maintain some semblance of control over our lives. It takes a lot of time and focus to meet their needs at end of life and the demands of our everyday lives continue.
  • we want to comfortably stay within our predetermined budget for the curative and comfort treatments that are involved in end-of-life expenses.

Looking at their care from a holistic viewpoint, can you see that these are all related? It takes time to consider trade-offs. Taking that time will help you know that you did what you should’ve done when the time came. You will have followed your “path of least regrets” and healing from your loss will come naturally. 

In our next blog post, we will talk about HOW to plan for the end-of-life journey, and how we can be “A Help” in that process.

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