Hospice, Pain Management, and Comfort Care

You don’t have to do this alone.

 

Mia in Hospice

Are you unsure if hospice is right for you and your companion? Give us a call – you can even schedule a time that’s convenient for you by clicking here. We love talking with people, and want to help you figure out what you need and find solutions – not just make a “sale.”  

This was probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my life and you made it 100% better. I don't know if I could have done this without you. I definitely would not have had the peace and closure that I have.

[Dr Naun] gave sound recommendation and was sensitive to our situation. Professional as she was, she sent a report to my dog's regular vet to keep everyone in the loop that same day. I recommend Dr Naun to anyone going through what I'm experiencing as it will come to that sooner than later.

Dr. Naun put together a pain management plan for Trinity and also recommended pet sitters for those times when we had to be away from her for longer than desired periods of time. It's very comforting to know that there is such a thing as pet hospice and I totally recommend Arms of Aloha and Dr. Naun to anyone out there whose beloved pet may need extra special care.

You have been a godsend, and I cannot tell you enough how much your visit and counsel and help have been exactly what has been needed. I know that we have the right person with us for the rest of this journey. As you can tell -- she is our child, means the world to us -- and we want to do the right thing by her. Thanks for being our partner in that.

Love "Arms of Aloha" the support, information and overall caring they have for your situation with your pet is such a comfort and warmth of the heart . They have helped me to enjoy all the good days I still can embrace with my furry friend.

 

Hospice is not giving up.

If you have had a human family member or friend pass away while in hospice, you may remember having to forgo life-extending or curative treatments. This is because hospice for people is fully covered by Medicare. We don’t have that limitation for our animal companions – you can choose comfort care and still have all your other treatment options.

Who can benefit from hospice or palliative care?

  • Families needing help caring for a pet after a major hospitalization or surgery
  • Pets that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, regardless of whether curative treatment is being pursued
  • Patients for whom curative treatment is no longer possible or is not affordable
  • Pets with chronic illness experiencing symptoms that interfere with their normal routine or quality of life
  • Families worried about when it is the “right time” to choose humane euthanasia for their pet

Get the time and attention you deserve.

Our doctor will meet with you where you and your pet are most relaxed and comfortable – in your home. A comfort care consultation lasts 2-3 hours, allowing plenty of time for you to share your concerns, get your questions answered, and create a treatment plan that makes sense for your and your pet.

You can follow up as much as you need by phone or email. Whichever method you prefer, we protect your personal information with secure communication channels. In-person rechecks can be scheduled at an affordable price if needed.

 

What you can expect

At your appointment, we will discuss everything that may influence your pet’s comfort and happiness, including their daily activities, favorite things and people, environment, known medical conditions and other symptoms. You will have the chance to share what the family wants and needs. It helps if everyone important to your pet is at the appointment – we’ve even had family participate by Skype. This initial interview takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

After the interview, the doctor observes and examines your pet wherever in the home that all of you feel most comfortable. You’ll review the expected course of the disease(s), what signs and symptoms you might see, what to do about them, and when you should call for help. You’ll hear about the treatment options that are available and what they might cost.

The doctor then helps you create a realistic care plan that works with your budget, priorities, and schedule. Some common recommendations include home nursing care by a Registered Veterinary Technician, physical therapy, pain medications, nutritional therapy, and acupuncture. We will also help you develop a contingency plan for emergencies so that you’re never stuck wondering what to do in the middle of the night.

 

What happens next

You can still pursue life-extending diagnosis and treatment with your regular veterinarian. Comfort care can complement or take the place of traditional medical care. Your primary veterinarian will be invited to collaborate as appropriate.

We’ll help you get the ball rolling, and are here to hold your hand as much or as little as you want. We will make arrangements with other professionals, dispense medications, and even order supplies for home delivery.

You and your regular veterinarian will receive a full report and a set of written instructions/recommendations within 24-48 hours of the appointment. If appropriate, we’ll also provide you with a written end-of-life care plan outlining your wishes, which you can present to emergency clinic staff if needed.  

Don’t wait for Monday morning

If you have questions or something changes, you can call or email us anytime to leave a message and we’ll respond when we can.

Take comfort in the knowledge that you have done everything possible for your companion’s comfort and happiness.

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Some Definitions

Quality of life

 The health, comfort, and happiness experienced by the patient. We have identified several indicators of quality of life in companion animals, including appetite, hydration, happiness, pain control, hygiene, and mobility.

Palliative care

Pronounced pal-ee-uh-tiv, palliative care focuses on improving the patient’s quality of life, reduction and prevention of suffering, and relief of the symptoms and distress associated with a serious illness. While palliative care itself is not aimed at extending life or curing disease, it can either replace or complement such measures. Examples might include anti-nausea medication for patients undergoing chemotherapy, acupuncture to alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, or surgical removal or reduction of a cancerous mass that cannot be cured, but is painful.

Comfort care

This is simply a lay term for palliative care.

Hospice

A sub-category of palliative care, a patient is considered in “hospice” if they have a terminal diagnosis. The objective of hospice is to preserve the patient’s quality of life as much as possible, while neither delaying nor hastening death.

Euthanasia

Actively ending the life of a sick or injured animal to prevent or relieve suffering.

Natural death

Allowing death to occur without euthanasia. The dying process can be very difficult for pets and families. With proactive management of distressing symptoms such as labored breathing, pain, and anxiety, it is possible in most cases to support a patient through natural death without undue suffering.

At Arms of Aloha, we feel that neither euthanasia nor natural death is morally or ethically superior, so long as the patient is protected from undue pain and distress.