A Comprehensive Guide to Effective Communication between Veterinarian and Client: From a Terminal Diagnosis to an End-of-life Discussion Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/x633f2851

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  • During the end of a pet’s life its owner is often in emotional turmoil over how to feel and what to do. A veterinarian can alleviate some of this grief by effectively communicating during a terminal diagnosis and end-of-life discussion. Effective communication includes acknowledging the unique human-animal bond between client and pet, the grief cycle of humans upon the death of a loved one, and the cultural differences between clients. In a comprehensive review of the current literature regarding these topics, the following key points emerged:  The veterinarian’s role of collaborator is beneficial in accomplishing effective communication.  The SPIKES model is essential to induce a comforting atmosphere for the client.  When a veterinarian is aware of the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle they are better equipped at supporting their client through a loss of a pet.  Acknowledging whether their clients come from a high vs. low context culture, what level of power distance, and what level of uncertainty avoidance is needed can enhance the veterinarian’s ability to keep his/her client comfortable during a difficult conversation. When a client is comfortable they can identify their emotions, voice them to their veterinarian, and give their veterinarian a chance to help them through emotionally-charged conversations.
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