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

By Victoria Thomas

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Abstract

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.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2012
Publisher Oregon State University
Degree Honors Baccalaureate of Science
URL http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/handle/1957/30276
Language English
University Oregon State University
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Tags
  1. Animal care
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Clients
  4. Communication
  5. End of life
  6. Pet ownership
  7. Terminal Care
  8. Veterinarians
  9. Veterinary medicine