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Reply To: Improving patient care and welfare

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Hayley Walters

Thanks for your comments, they were lovely to receive.

Regarding long term inpatient care, as we get to know our long term inpatients we can certainly tailor their care more specifically to their individual needs and preferences but I do worry about that patient’s mental health sitting in a cage day after day. Boredom, anxiety and depression must set in and I know I’ve seen the sparkle go out of some patient’s as the weeks go on. Enrichment programmes, puzzle feeders, extra walks and cuddles, and having them join us in the office as we do any admin work (if this is something they enjoy) can all help these patients keep mentally healthy.
Regarding local anaesthetics I wonder if it is a matter of training and habit? If it is not something that is demonstrated repeatedly in theatre at vet school or done in the practice anyway, I suspect it becomes habit not to use it. The biggest predicter of today’s behaviour is what you did yesterday. I tend to ask the vet if they would like me to get the local which serves as a gentle reminder that it’s available!
I think there is still more we could be doing and I’m learning every day of extra tips that we might not think about….like don’t take an animal in a consult room out the back for a procedure eg blood sample. It’s already had the stress of waiting in the waiting room, acclimatising to the consult room and now it’s got to walk away from its owners, into another strange room, often noisy and with other people and animal’s in it, and be expected to sit still. Better to do the procedure in the consult room that it has got used to and, if necessary, ask the owners to just take a seat in the waiting room. Such a simple thing to do to reduce further stress in the clinic.

Would love to hear of anyone else’s tips on here.