Wednesday, February 22, 2012
"During a recent care planning meeting a patient was being discussed because of his recent decline. The patient had experienced many losses in his life and he had the tendency to take out his frustration on those closest to him, including his family. As a result, most of his family had become estranged due to his less than pleasant demeanor. The nurse had the impression that he enjoyed being that "mean old guy," but she was particularly worried because during her last visit she had noticed that his entire demeanor had changed. The patient was no longer just being mean---he seemed despondent and had even become less compliant with medication. After a long discussion that included medication changes, the hospice nurse interjected that the only thing she had seen perk up the patient's mood was the presence of his dog.
After finding out that his dog was an important component of his life, the hospice team decided that a Christmas gift of a stocking filled with pet products might lift the patient's spirits. The team was told that this was possible through the Pet Peace of Mind program. A staff member was given the task to buy supplies and assemble the gift to be taken to the patient the next day, but funds were never taken from the Pet Peace of Mind account. When other staff members and pet lovers heard of the plan, donations came in that were more than sufficient to fill the stocking!
The nurse returned the next day and reported that the patient was thrilled with the gift for his pet. He also told her that he knew he was being difficult. She was amazed at the complete turnaround in the patient brought about by this gift. Pet Peace of Mind is beneficial in so many ways. Our patient needed to know that he and his pet were important and our staff learned about giving and why Pet Peace of Mind matters."
This is a perfect example of how Pet Peace of Mind can make caring for a hospice patient easier. By validating the relationship between a patient and pet, staff member build credibility and trust with a patient. Even staff members who are not pet lovers will find that their jobs are easier when patients trust them because they affirm the patient's love for their pet.