Did you register for the free webinar provided by Caroline Hewson (The Pet Loss Vet) on how to care for your clients during their pets’ end-of-life? Caroline provided lots of practical advice for all team members in practice and how to optimise practice guidelines to assist your clients through this difficult time. At the start of the webinar Caroline asked a poll question to determine the percentage of webinar attendees who had experienced an end-of-life encounter during the past seven days. The results of this question indicated that 67% of the live attendees had dealt with euthanasia within the past week highlighting that this is a frequently encountered situation in practice.
Caroline presented data which demonstrated that euthanasia can be a source of compassion fatigue and stress within practice, up to 30% of pet clients find dealing with the loss of a pet difficult and 19% of clients decided to change practice after having a pet put to sleep (PTS). It has been estimated that a loss of approximately £10,000 per year can be attributed to post PTS client attrition. In terms of what clients would like from veterinary practices, there is evidence to show that pet owners would like empathy from the entire veterinary team and recognition of their emotions. Pet Cremation Services carried out a survey in 2014 where 84% of approximately 1,600 respondents indicated that they would like a pre-euthanasia consultation. This consultation would be useful in terms of planning the day, talking to family members, asking any questions they may have and discussing any options (e.g. cremation or at home euthanasia) in advance, instead of putting the owner on the spot on the day of the PTS.
With regards to delivering this service within veterinary practice, Caroline recommends that teamwork and having a practice policy which is evaluated at regular time points to keep it up to date and relevant are vital. The ‘touch points’ for end-of-life support to your clients are: the phone call to arrange the euthanasia appointment; breaking bad news; pre-euthanasia consultation; the euthanasia; collecting ashes and sympathy card. Having clear guidelines and staff training in these areas would improve support to pet owners. At the end of the presentation, Caroline provided practical tips for veterinary practices and I would encourage people who were unable to attend the live broadcast to watch the recording for these really useful handy hints. Caroline is offering a package of webinars tailored for front of house staff. Details of this package can be found on our website using the following link: https://www.thewebinarvet.com/clientcareatanimalsendoflife