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End of life communication

Posted by: Shailen Posts: 100 - Joined:

#28 - by Shailen >> Tue Aug 30th, 2011 01:24 pm

I was listening to a radio phone-in about humans that are considered terminally ill and they were making the point that people prefer it if their doctor is honest with them about how sick they are. To speak to them in a sensitive and clear way without too much medical jargon but essentially to tell them the truth. As a vet I have always presumed this is what pet carers want as well when it comes to being told about their pet's illness. Do you agree? If you have lost a pet, what was your experience of the communication you received from veterinary staff? Shailen.
Shailen (The Ralph Site founder)
Posted by: Rajesh Narula Posts: 1 - Joined: Tue Jul 26th, 2011 03:57 pm

#29 - by Rajesh Narula >> Tue Aug 30th, 2011 01:44 pm

Honesty, simplicity, sympathy, and truth are the simplest and most effective foundations of all communication. As someone who has been a consumer of veterinary services from childhood (my parents hid nothing from us - which is most definitely A Good Thing), I came to learn the value of veterinary personnel of all grades who were able to combine honesty, simplicity, sympathy, and truth. I would rather be told everything, plainly and simply. In that way, I can make up my own mind about things, having doubts and concerns dealt with as I go along. Over the last nearly twenty years, I have been hugely fortunate in having had dealings with veterinary staff whose overall approach was and is nothing less than excellent - even when dealing with the most difficult and heart-rending situations. I only wish that all our non-human family and friends could receive such devoted care.
Posted by: Admin Posts: 72 - Joined: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 01:05 am

#30 - by Admin >> Tue Aug 30th, 2011 01:57 pm

From Facebook page: "its down to the individual,my mum has terminal cancer and specifically does not want to know how much time she has left."
The Ralph Site Admin
Posted by: Admin Posts: 72 - Joined: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 01:05 am

#31 - by Admin >> Tue Aug 30th, 2011 11:36 pm

From our Facebook page:

"I prefer to be told the truth and the facts in an sensitive factual way followed by whatever options are available. I don't understand a lot of medical terminology as I'm not medically trained. I do know my animals though and I like to have time to digest the information before making any decisions. However when it comes to euthanasia deep down inside I usually know when the time has come but still cling to a hope that the vet will tell me something more can be tried."

"Sometimes the vet has to impart bad news to owners and it's very important that it is done in a way that owners can assimilate and come to terms with. Ending the life of a much loved animal companion is deeply traumatic. The sensitivity shown by the vet in those final moments is vital for the owners. Even the body should be treated with respect. These are moments that owners remember and re live over and over again."
The Ralph Site Admin
Posted by: Jenny Posts: 2 - Joined: Thu May 10th, 2012 07:55 pm

#243 - by Jenny >> Thu May 10th, 2012 08:38 pm

I think it is down to the individual, when I was told last year that my little man Finlie was very very ill with some sort of auto-immune disease (probably down to cancer) with the vets advise he commenced treatment, e.g. Steroids and other drugs, his bloods were checked each week, and after the second week we were greeted by the vet saying he was doing very well, in fact was making red blood cells, the words very ill weren't discussed again! Yet in week 4 my little man became very ill struggled to keep food down along with other complications, on his last day we were forced to visit the vet again for the 3rd time in 3 days to be told 'if he was my dog I would let him go with dignity' and the vet further confirmed that even though the steroids had helped him to make red blood cells he still had no platelets, I do wish now that the vet was better at communication, e.g. I wish the vet told us each time we visited that he was very ill and should have said that in fact he was dying, it was only on the last day that vet actually told us that it was only ever palliative care. We weren't prepared for the loss we were about to face, but now actually think if the vet had been straight talking from the start it may have been a tiny bit easier. Jenny

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