One of the pioneers in Veterinary Hospice, Dr. Tami Shearer, created a 5 Step template so no part of the pet's care would get overlooked. This template is widely used today. It acts as a check and balance system to insure all is being done for a gravely ill or dying pet. It places strong emphasis on the psychosocial concerns of the pet owner.

These five steps help us complete a thorough assessment of your pet and your family’s needs.
The steps include:

1. Evaluation of your needs, beliefs, and goals for the pet
2. Education about your pet’s disease processes
3. Development of a personalized plan for your pet and your family
4. Application of palliative and hospice care techniques
5. Emotional support during your pet’s care process, as well as after death

Steps 1-3 are completed during the initial in-depth evaluation by Dr Bryant and Chelsea CVT. We will talk to you about your pet’s history and current issues, as well as your feelings and philosophies regarding comfort care near the end of life.

During this time, we will observe your pet in his or her environment, access his 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.

After this in-depth evaluation Dr Bryant 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.

We 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 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.

You will have our ongoing support to evaluate your pet’s quality of life and to help with the inevitable question of when the time is right to elect humane euthanasia. In addition to patient considerations, there are many pet owner and family factors that play a role in this decision. 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 begin the moment a pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness. We will provide you with resources for grief support in this difficult time.

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