In-Home Pet Hospice Care
While modern veterinary medicine may have the ability to prolong the lives of our pets, there can come a time when continued treatment of the disease process is no longer desirable or appropriate, and intensive diagnostics and monitoring interfere with a quality life.
In-home palliative and hospice care helps alleviate the stress associated with visits to the veterinary clinic, and allows you and your pet to enjoy your special time together in the familiar surroundings of home. The decision to pursue hospice care, though not for everyone, strengthens the bond between you and your pet and helps prepare for the passing of your special companion.
View video segment from the local news channel to learn more about the benefits of our pet hospice care:
The Caring Pathways Commitment
Caring Pathways recognizes and appreciates the comfort, safety, and security of the home environment in end of life care for pets and we strive to be exemplary leaders in palliative and hospice nursing care for dogs and cats. This comfort care bridges the humane transition from diagnosis of a terminal condition to euthanasia, and encompasses the physical, emotional, and social needs of the pet, as well as the goals, philosophies, and capabilities of the owner, including support for the grieving process.
To achieve this, we have a collaborative team of dedicated, compassionate, and professional veterinarians and support staff to bring palliative and hospice nursing care to your pet’s end of life care needs.
Five-Step Strategy for Comprehensive Palliative and Hospice Care
Caring Pathways utilizes a five-step strategy for comprehensive palliative and hospice care. These five steps help us complete a thorough assessment of each pet and pet family’s needs, while also allowing for the flexibility of tailoring care on a case-by-case basis. The steps include:
- Evaluation of the pet owner’s needs, beliefs, and goals for the pet
- Education about your pet’s disease processes
- Development of a personalized plan for the pet and their family
- Application of palliative and hospice care techniques
- Emotional support during your pet’s care process, as well as after death
What To Expect From the Caring Pathways Team
One of our veterinarians will take the time to talk with you about your pet’s history and current issues, as well as your feelings and philosophies regarding comfort care near end of life. During this time, the doctor will be observing your pet in his or her environment, learning about pain and discomfort levels, nutrition and hydration concerns, hygiene and mobility challenges, social considerations (i.e. is your pet able to comfortably and safely interact with the family or are they isolated due to safety or hygiene concerns), and joy in daily activities.
We will speak with you about the specific disease process your animal is experiencing, as well as the expected course and direction of the disease.
Caring Pathways: Your Partner in Hospice Care
Armed with the knowledge and observations gained, our veterinarians will be able to let you know if palliative and hospice care is indeed a humane and reasonable option for your pet and if so begin to formulate a personalized plan, knowing that you and your family’s capabilities and beliefs play a crucial role in the success of a palliative and hospice care plan.
Our veterinarians will teach you proper nursing and comfort care techniques, educate you about medical therapies used, and about appropriate environmental modifications in the home. We will assign your pet to a level of care which will guide your expectations for follow-up visits and communications. This aspect is key to making sure that we are continuing to provide you with and educate you about the most appropriate, compassionate, and humane care possible for your beloved companion.
- Palliative Care. Pet needs care for comfort and pain management in daily activities.
- Early Hospice (Stage I Hospice). Pet has had a diagnosis of a terminal illness. There is a more intensive need for monitoring and management of nutrition, hydration, pain, mobility, and nursing care.
- Advanced Hospice (Stage II Hospice). Last stage of life. Pet may be unable to get up, needing to be cleaned and turned regularly. Intensive nursing care, monitoring, and pain management is required.
Our Support During Your Most Difficult Decisions
From the outset of our first visit, we will guide you through the inevitable question of when the time is right to elect euthanasia, and we will be available to help you make that determination as your pet’s condition progresses. There are many pet owner and family factors that play a role in this decision, in addition to the patient factors. It is often a very difficult decision to make. Feelings of anxiety and guilt are common and may actually intensify after the loss of a beloved pet.
Grieving and the need for emotional support can also begin the moment a pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness. We can provide you with resources for grief support in this difficult time. When you are wondering about your pet’s quality of life and not certain yet that euthanasia is the best option, our in-home palliative and hospice consult and assessment will guide you in comfort care for your beloved companion, and our comprehensive care plan will allow us to assist you at every step of the transition to peaceful end of life.
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