In this time of tough competitive forces, being able to standout by offering something different in your practice to those around you is one of the most important marketing tools available to you. With so many practices adopting health plans focused on puppies and kittens to help bond clients, the end-of-life stage represents a clear path to stand out and differentiate your clinic. By delivering training to your whole practice team and giving an outstanding experience to every pet goodbye, you will ensure that when that client gets their new puppy or kitten, they will feel confident in returning to your practice, where the memories they hold are ones of compassion and support.
Attrition of Clients - Typically 15-20% After Pet Bereavement
Attrition of clients after pet bereavement is high with typical levels of between 15 and 20% being common. Reasons unfortunately include where the owner's experience of pet loss in the clinic was poor, or worse, made more painful by their experience in the veterinary clinic. Given that euthanasia is a regularly performed procedure in practice and over 80% of pets will end their life through euthanasia, the risk of getting things wrong can have very serious consequences.
Usually, none of this is intentional. In the busy milieu of practice life, the focus tends to be on fixing and curing. What is needed at end-of-life is a switch of focus, from curing to caring. Finding the right words to say, or the right things to do, doesn't always come easy or naturally. There are clients that slip through the net because of incorrect assumptions that we can identify those that need support from those that don’t, that a sympathy card afterwards is enough of a display of empathy, or worse still that their grief might be prolonged by the offer of help or signposting to resources.
Improve Veterinary Staff Wellbeing and Morale
Add to this loss of clients, the impact on the veterinary and client support teams. As a caring profession, the emotional toll of dealing with death on a regular basis, and with upset pet owners, can lay heavily. Stress is a common theme in many veterinary practices, and repeated exposure to difficult situations such as end-of-life discussions without adequate training can lead to staff losses. These losses have a financial impact. Caroline Hewson, also known as The Pet Loss Vet, has estimated that the financial losses suffered through client attrition together with increased staff turnover due to staff unhappiness and compassion fatigue, amount to more than £10,000 each year … a silent loss that’s commonly overlooked.
It makes total sense that retention of a client after pet loss and support and care of the practice team is the most effective and cost-beneficial method of preventing these revenue-reducing losses.
Pet Loss Support Training Programme
The Compassion Understood Pet Loss Support Training Programme will give both you and your practice team the knowledge and skills to deal with end-of-life confidently. As well as clinical skills training on quality of life and bond-centred euthanasia, communication skills are also comprehensively covered. The pet loss journey from both the veterinary and the client's point of view is examined, and the training supported by a rich body of insights from our research with hundreds of pet owners. You'll also find training on self-care for teams and advice on minimising compassion fatigue.
Your practice training efforts will be recognised by being awarded with Compassion Understood accreditation and the addition of your clinic to our public database of Compassion Understood trained practices. The Compassion Understood Pet Loss Support Training Programme can be used to provide evidence of practice training in end-of-life as part of the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme. The modular approach allows you to individualise training to the development needs and job role of each practice member. Your teams, both clinical and client-supporting will feel confident in working seamlessly together. Ready-to-use protocols and templates will enable you to incorporate your new end-of-life standards quickly and easily into your daily practice approach.
Everyone who completes and passes the course or components will awarded with a Downloadable Compassion Understood certificate.