In Home Geriatric Care and Pet Hospice
Pet hospice is not a specific place, rather it’s a philosophy of care that offers you as the care giver an alternative to extended treatments and hospitalization for your pet.
Pet hospice care provides end-of-life palliative care to terminally ill companion animals, and is modeled very closely on the concept of human hospice. The word palliative refers to the medical care that treats symptoms, rather than the cause of the disease. The goal of palliative care is to make your pet as comfortable as possible and to enhance his or her quality of life for as long as possible. Pet hospice care allows the pet and care giver to spend quality time at home under the guidance and care of the hospice team, until such time of euthanasia or death occurs. Under the guidance of your primary veterinarian, our hospice care givers help to keep your pets happy and comfortable through a combination of medications, preemptive pain control, and supportive therapies like nutrition and hydration.
There are a number of issues that should be thought about when considering veterinary hospice care:
- Take some time… Initially you are given a lot of medical information and you will have a lot of questions. Take some time before making any decisions. We can revisit when you have had time to explore your feelings and review questions you would like to ask.
- Think about quality of life… The goal of hospice care is to make your pet as comfortable as possible and to enhance his or her quality of life for as long as possible. Remembering that like the hospice model found in human medicine, pet hospice stems from the basic belief that death is not a medical failure. Rather, death is the normal and inevitable conclusion to life. The hospice philosophy teaches that when all involved are properly prepared and guided, death can be experienced with dignity and compassion.
- What is entailed in hospice care?… The care of your pet under hospice is a team effort and treatments will depend specifically on you and your pet’s needs. Under the guidance of your primary veterinarian and hospice care team, a specific plan of care is developed. The goal of care is to provide comfort and quality time for as long as possible.
- Do I…. accept that my pet has a terminal illness and that my focus is now on providing comfort and care rather than finding a cure? Do I have enough time, energy, family support, and financial resources to care for my pet during this final stage?
- Self-Care… Make sure that you are taking care of yourself throughout the hospice process and for long after the loss of your pet. You must attend to your needs – from basics like eating and sleeping well, to making sure that you continue living well across the spectrum of wellness. Pay attention to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and well being. Avoid becoming isolated – stay in contact socially and seek counseling for additional support.
We are here to help.
Geralyn Gibson DVM, Director of Pet Hospice Care (303)886-2239
Lyons Veterinary Clinic Hospice Team (303)823-6767