A Partnership with Hospice
Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Since arriving in Savannah 21 years ago, I have heard great things about Hospice of Savannah. In recent years, as an Elder in my church, I have had many opportunities to see firsthand what Hospice is able to accomplish for their patients and for the families whose loved one is terminally ill. For over three decades they have been caring for patients and their loved ones in the counties of the Coastal Empire.
In recent years, those at Hospice saw a need to include pets as â€śmembersâ€ť of the family. Incorporating Pet Therapy dogs had a huge impact and was well received by the patients and all who came in contact with the dogs. I know how much having a pet present can calm someone who is anxious about their health or in pain. In the veterinary world, we daily see clients who tell us that their pets give them so much joy and increase their quality of life. We have also seen the heartbreak of clients who have had to give up their pets due to poor health or terminal illness.
Imagine my delight and surprise when I was approached six months ago by one of our very own clients who is also a volunteer at the Hospice House. He set up a meeting to detail a new program that Hospice was looking to incorporate into their services. The program was called Pet Peace of MindÂ© and the mission was â€śhelping Hospice Savannah families stay togetherâ€ť. Would we be interested in helping them apply for a grant and be on the Board as a veterinary advisor?
Hospice of Savannahâ€™s mission statement reads: â€śWe believe that itâ€™s not just the patient who needs compassionate care, but each member of the family.â€ť Case Veterinary Hospitalâ€™s mission statement reads â€śWe are committed to enhancing lives of families, caring for one pet at a time.â€ť I couldnâ€™t believe how much the two statements complemented each other. Certainly we wanted to be a part of this wonderful program!
Pet Peace of MindÂ© has been up and running for two or three months now. There are some kinks to iron out, more volunteers to be found, resources to be gathered, and funds to be raised. But, already, there are success stories. Patients who have felt a sense of peace that their pets will be in good hands when they are gone. Pets who are getting medical attention for their own health issues after being placed on the back burner while the family had to put all their time and energy in the care giving of a loved one. I know these stories will be added to as time goes by. We feel so blessed to be part of this venture!
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