There are so many calculations to be made during a typical day in a veterinary practice — antibiotic doses, fluid flow rates, anaesthetic and analgesic doses. Every time someone makes a calculation there is a chance for a mistake. Unfortunately, even a small miscalculation can spell disaster for an animal patient.
When practicing from the perspective of compassionate care, veterinarians and their health care teams dedicate themselves to always advocating for what is best for the pet — advocating on behalf of a being that cannot advocate for itself. By advocating for what is best for the pet, we are actually advocating on behalf of the Family-Pet Bond. Veterinary health care providers make choices daily about the level of care they provide. Every day you have the opportunity to choose compassionate care.
Creating a compassionate care clinic culture means paying attention to the team dynamics. It means accepting responsibility to be as effective a team member as possible. Here are some ideas for making a difference on your practice team.
Our moral imperative is to advocate on behalf of a being that cannot advocate for itself, and that means preventing and treating pain. Our patients at the end of their lives can (and often do) encounter both acute and chronic pain. We must keep our eyes, ears, and mind open to "see" pain in these patients, and leverage the many tools we have available, both drug and non-drug.
Everyone knows that veterinary practices are busy places! There is always something going on — the phone is ringing, clients are coming in the door, and beloved pets need our help. The life of a veterinary healthcare team member is hectic.
For many years, chronic pain in dogs and cats was either tolerated as a necessary evil, or was considered a reason for euthanasia to relieve the pet from unnecessary suffering. With the development of contemporary pharmaceuticals and technology, more pets are able to live reasonably comfortable lives despite chronic conditions that could have previously caused unrelieved suffering.
Chronic pain patients certainly present their own set of challenges beyond the obvious challenges around relieving their discomfort. We have to ensure that they eat enough, but not too much of the most appropriate nutrient profile.
The most common application of nutrition and nutraceuticals in the world of pet pain is among chronic, maladaptive pain patients... These are the patients who benefit the most from a multi-modal, multi-target approach to their pain relief. In order to provide the very best care for these patients so as to achieve the best outcome on their behalf, we need to adhere to a few simple strategies.
When we consider and treat the population of patients we see who are dealing with cancer, or who have a terminal disease and are approaching the ends of their lives, we are really talking about providing palliative care. This is a concept borrowed from human medicine, and is defines as any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of the symptoms associated with disease, rather than providing treatment designed to delay or reverse the progression of disease or to provide a cure.