Client communication – it’s a two-way street!

image of Client communication – it’s a two-way street!
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: The diagnosis of a pet’s cancer can be an emotional one for caregivers. Additionally, along with shock and grief, it can be the start of a long journey of decision-making, large financial and time commitments, home nursing, and more. Caregivers’ wishes for their pet may vary, from wanting to do everything possible, to not proceeding. Client’s concerns may be diverse – from whether they can cope with caring for a pet with cancer, to whether their pet can cope with cancer treatment. No matter what decisions are made, or a treatment paths are followed, the veterinary oncology team must work with caregivers to build a strong and trusting working relationship. In this way, we can guide them through the reality of cancer treatment, prognoses and realistic expectations, ethical and welfare-centred outcome objectives, and treatment options. This session focuses on some of the potential barriers perceived by clients, and how the oncology team – working collaboratively and in a multi-disciplinary way – can support the caregiver empathetically, considering their and the pet’s perspective, to facilitate optimal and ongoing patient care. Getting this right from the start is crucial, and can make all the difference to successful interventions, and to how the pet and client proceed through care plans.

: We are all very different! Some owners want to know every detail of their pet’s condition, some want to put the care completely into our hands, some owners will know that their dog drinks an average of 714mls of water a day, some will not have any idea their dog is drinking more than normal. Neither is right or wrong or even good or bad but all owners want their pet to feel well and stay well for as long as possible. For these different owners, the way to reach the best treatment decision for their pet may be very different. This lecture uses the author’s experience of working in a multi-disciplinary team and with nurses who have been a big part of owner communication. I will let you know what I feel has worked well and what hasn’t and my top tips for stress-free communication.

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