As stated by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, hospice is “[c]onsidered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well. At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.”
One of the major benefits of hospice care is that my approach includes you and the rest of your family as well as the furkid who we are focused on at the time. I understand how it feels to walk through the end of life journey with a beloved furry family member, and in addition to having experience with it personally, I have held the hands of many human family members as they approach this transition. Hospice care understands that not only the dying individual needs care, but that the journey is also difficult for other family members who need attention as well.
Certainly a big benefit of working with a hospice veterinarian is our experience with the medical condition. We are able to help you make your furkid as comfortable as possible from a medical standpoint using whatever tools we have available. In my practice this includes pharmaceuticals, helping manage the patient’s environment, acupuncture and herbs, homeopathics, essential oils, and many other things. These tools help alleviate physical suffering as well as addressing the emotional and psychological needs of the patient at this point of their lives.
Another benefit is having someone to talk to who intimately understands your furkid’s situation. I can help explain the processes that you’re seeing and give you some concept of what the future is likely to look like as we progress down the path. Sometimes when dealing with the emotionally difficult process of providing nursing care for a beloved pet all you want is someone to listen without judgement. While I am not a therapist, listening to the challenges and joys of the path and providing reassurances is definitely something I do for my clients, and certainly, if the challenges exceed my ability to help, I work with local animal communicators and pet grief counselors who can provide additional support.
In addition to supporting the human family members and the patient, I can also use essential oils and homeopathics to help the other furry family members with their own grief. Yes, pets grieve too, especially when they have been closely bonded with the patient.
For many years we have turned to euthanasia very quickly in the veterinary field because we had limited means to eliminate suffering in out patients. Times have changed, and now approaching or even passing completely through the natural death process can be eased for pets as well as for humans. Even so, many still find the idea of the dying process to be frightening and most of us poorly understand the process which contributes to fear and resistance to approach it.
The following articles will go through the natural process of death step by step. Every death is different, and each different disease can have a different “average” process, but what follows is the average of averages. More specific information can be gained through a consult with myself or another hospice vet.
If you want a consultation, or simply more information, please get in touch!
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