Virbac's compassionate care survey probes end-of-life care practices - DVM
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Virbac's compassionate care survey probes end-of-life care practices


Some of the other findings included:

  • 47 percent of veterinarian are having end-of-life discussions with clients more than 11 times per month.
  • 59 percent of veterinarians surveyed say their hospital offers end-of-life assistance and training for pet owners with terminally ill pets.
  • Only 12 percent of veterinary technicians receive euthanasia training.
  • More than half (52 percent) of veterinarians say they use a quality-of-life scale for patients with terminal illnesses to help clients determine the decision to euthanize the animal.
  • If the practice did use a scale, most of the respondents reported it was developed by the practitioners in the hospital or was a combination of published information and their own thinking.
  • 53 percent of veterinarians report their hospitals perform euthanasias about 10 times a month.

The survey results showed some other interesting findings, like how integral the veterinary team is to end-of-life discussions and its procedures. In fact, about 79 percent of the veterinary technicians surveyed assist with euthanasia procedures. The majority of veterinary technicians (69 percent) personally have discussions with pet owners about the end-of-life care. In fact, veterinary technician responses very much aligned with veterinarian responses to this question.

What is less understood, Walsh says of the survey results, is a universal understanding of compassion fatigue. In fact, when asked, three-quarters of the veterinarians surveyed say they are aware of the term compassion fatigue, but fewer numbers of veterinarian respondents (64 percent) were familiar with the symptoms.

Respondents were then asked to identify possible symptoms seen in practice. About 90 percent said they have seen mental and physical tiredness, apathy/sadness (67 percent), difficulty concentrating (57 percent), preoccupation (51 percent), chronic physical ailments (46 percent), denial (31 percent) and isolation (31 percent).

Within hospitals, many members of the hospital team deal with euthanasia, and there are just as many different attitudes about performing or assisting with these end-of-life procedures.

"There are people who are really good at it. There are people who felt like they are really good at it, and there are people who don't want to deal with it at all. That was an eye opener for me– how much is not known out there," Walsh says.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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