Using Atlanta Pet Hospital as a Referral Asset to help improve your Practice’s End of Life care.
Hello, while there is a tremendous amount ot if public information on my website this is a page devoted to my focus of helping your practice with one of the most difficult parts of general veterinary practice while also building and strengthening client loyalty to you and your practice.
I know your time on the job each day is precious and demanding so I will attempt to be brief with this information.
I have spent almost three decades as a companion animal vet and after a few years hiatus necessitated by a temporarily disabling health problem I started Atlanta Pet Hospice a little over a year and 1/2 ago. Hospice and end of life care was the part of my practice that I felt we were most deficient at and could serve our clients and patients better. Over time I began extracurricular training in both social work/grief counseling and palliative care.
I founded Atlanta Pet Hospice with 2 main goals. 1) To offer pet owners an option for hospice and euthanasia care in the privacy and comfort of their home provided solely by an experienced veterinarian dedicated only to these 2 services who has had both extra curricular training in social work, as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and as a AAHA Certified Veterinarian in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. 2) The other goal was to offer to General Practice Veterinarians a trusted, non competitive referral asset when their treatment of seriously and terminally ill patients conditions indicated the need to transition from cure to care and at home care for either reasons of comfort, reduction in clinic fear, difficulty in transport or emotional comfort of the patient and owner would improve the medical care of the patient and the emotional transition for the client.
Also one other reason I created Atlanta Pet Hospice was in my practice I also consistently found, as maybe you do also, that the day and appointment time a long term treasured client and her beloved terminally ill pet comes in for euthanasia only a few minutes beforehand some major patient emergency (i.e. bloat, HBC, large dog on small dog loser or active dystocia with the partial fetus dangling out rear feet first ) requiring me and a significant part of my staff to go to work immeadiately causing the euthanasia appointment to either have to wait or postpone so a proper amount of time and personal attention could be spent with the patient and his/her pet.
I am not a full service mobile practice doing home euthanasia as one of my many services which would ultimately compete with your practice. As much as each referring practice is willing I will speak and communicate directly with the primary care veterinarian that was seeing the case in clinic. I welcome being introduced as a consulting veterinarian (not a specialist) to assist your practice for home hospice and euthanasia care. I will speak with the owners and frequently mention that I am in direct contact with either the veterinarian they were being cared for in the professional staff or in general with the clinic which ever is preferred by the referring practice.
This time in the client-veterinarian relationship is always difficult. Over the years, with training and experience I am confident in being able to asses the owner’s level of emotional maturity about the pet and their ultimate passing, their level of attachment and the type of relationship or family position the pet occupies. This greatly helps me in working with the client through the emotional process of preparing for the inevitable while also maintaining the most optimum Quality of Life of the patient for as long as reasonably possible. I also work diligently to prepare the clients for the pets passing in however way fits best and is most effective related to their and their families emotional profile. As I am sure you know while these clients are generally upper tier clients with their pets occupying a high or surrogate level of position as human family members they normally will also draw more on your staff’s emotional resources through this process contributing many times to compassion fatigue.My staff of counselors that are available when I am not have years of training and are available to communicate with our clients 8AM to 10PM when I am not available. This will definitely help reduce compassion fatigue for your staff and keep them available to care for the daily flow of normal clients and pets. I have left brochures with your staff and my public website is very informative and user friendly. I have created just to provide practitioner level information about my practice and services. This page also provides more information on the subject of using Atlanta Pet Hospice as a referral asset.
Finally let me mention one more topic that I was always sensitive to as a clinic owner. I always had concerns when other veterinarians offered services as referral sources for services that I did not offer (like certain orthopedic or dental procedures) but at the same time they also offered a full service clinic like mine. Despite the assurances it seemed like we always lost some clients to theses clinics after referral. As a dedicated practice one of my goals is always to improve your level of care to your patients and promote every opportunity available that they continue to return to you with their new pets and their already established pets after their experience with my care, I am not a general mobile vet and in the future as I bring more vets into my practice they will also be only dedicated to our service not working at other clinics or emergency clinics on weekends.
I can assure you Atlanta Pet Hospice will never in anyway ever knowingly or purposely compete with our referral clinics. One of my main goals is and always will be to improve the level of care of both the referral patient and owner and have them regard your referral to me with appreciation for the level of care I provided. I look forward to meeting with you personally anytime at your convenience. Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you in the future.
Dr. Greg Helton