Preparing for & Nearing End-of-Life

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This component covers the following modules:

  • Understanding the pet owner
  • Introducing the 4th life stage; Quality of Life assessment and tools
  • Decision-making and end-of-life discussions
  • Introduction to palliative & hospice care 
  • Compassionate communication

These modules form part of the veterinary journey. They will help you learn about the human-companion animal bond and pet owners’ fears about end-of-life. We'll help you understand about grief reactions, and why it doesn't always follow a straight course. Anticipatory grief is also discussed to help you to help owners come to terms with their impending loss.

The content in this component is both clinical and non-clinical. In our veterinary practice research only 35% of vet team members felt they were well-equipped to answer questions about 'the right time'. This component helps to address that need, but also importantly looks at the perspective of the pet owner with a pet nearing end of life, through videos and pet owner comments. This real-life aspect to the learning helps veterinary professionals to address clinical conundrums, but also importantly to balance this with what the pet owner is feeling.

Several tools are highlighted in helping the vet team to benchmark quality of life, and enable them to have discussions about this throughout the pet's life. There is also a tool to help clients capture their thoughts on the type of experience they would like for themselves and their pet at their pet's end-of-life. 

Palliative and hospice care is a subject that is in its infancy in the UK at this time, and the fourth module in this component introduces the concept and gives the vet team information on how they can start to integrate an animal hospice approach into the services that they offer.

In the final module of this component we look at communication skills and give you tips on communicating in a sensitive and caring way. This module will be of use for other areas of client interaction as well.  

As with the other components there are reflective exercises along the way to help embed the learning. Each module guides the student through the information via video, audio, articles and downloads. Each module concludes with a brief multiple choice assessment which contributes towards passing of the component. 

The component is expected to take about 2.5 hours in total. On completion and passing of the component, participants will receive a certificate and accreditation points, as well as a Compassion Understood lapel badge if this component is taken as a stand-alone unit. 

This component is one of three components available within the Pet Loss Support course.