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Inside the 2023 AAFP/IAAHPC Hospice and Palliative Care Guidelines

As the life expectancy of cats increases clinicians are seeing more cats with age-related diseases. Clinicians are also faced with helping cats with life-limiting diseases. Our goal is to help them live well, not just longer and to live well until the end of their life. Incorporating palliative and hospice care into your practice provides a service for this special population and their caregivers. An important concept is understanding the “care unit” and how the entire veterinary team and caregiver can work together for the cat’s benefit. Establishing the “budgets of care” will guide the team on how to move forward. Palliative and hospice care is a balance of good medicine and communication and these guidelines are designed to help the “care unit” keep cats comfortable and make informed decisions at the end of life.

After attending this webinar, participants should be able to:
  1. How to incorporate and expand hospice care and palliative care services in your practice.
  2. To know how to choose quality of life assessment tools to help guide ethical decision making about the end of life and euthanasia.
  3. Learn how best to utilize veterinary team members to support caregivers and their cat.
  4. Know how to manage the common medical issues in this population including long-term pain and inappetence.

After graduating from the University of Glasgow Dr Robertson undertook specialized training in anesthesia and pain management. She is board certified in anesthesia and in animal welfare by the respective American and European Colleges. She holds a certificate in small animal acupuncture and shelter medicine. She is a certified Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Palliative and End-of-Life practitioner. She is the senior medical director of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a large network of veterinarians dedicated to end-of-life care. Dr Robertson is also a courtesy Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.