Euthanasia Protocol Change Takes a Euthanasia Action Plan

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Have you ever gone to an educational conference and learned so much you didn’t know where to start? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and then struggle implementing it in your daily work. The ideas you heard were wonderful, useful, and potential game changers for your team and your patients. It’s essential to act on it. Euthanasia education is growing and euthanasia best practices are evolving. Those out there teaching new approaches to the procedure and client support are giving us the means to deliver safer, more meaningful appointments. We lucky enough to have learned these modern protocols have to take the next step and weave them into practice.

So how do you strategize for successful implementation of what you learned and keep these fresh ideas from falling off the to-do-list? It comes down to managing expectations while balancing a team’s ability to deliver on change, especially with a procedure as influential as euthanasia. Too much change is taxing on a team, but just the right amount can be stimulating. Following continuing education, get the team together, beit one or 20 persons, and write out a strong euthanasia action plan.

Step One: Take a deep look at what you learned
~ Begin ranking based on importance to your patient, client, and team
~ Does it resonate with you?
~ What ideas should stay and what can go (for now)?

Step Two: Schedule the new modification
~ Spread out the changes for easier follow through
~ Ensure everyone has easy access to the plan

Step Three: Appoint a plan leader to carry out the mission
~ Utilize the person who understands the impactful nature of the plan
~ Encourage them to track progress and keep forward momentum

CAETA recommends picking 12 new ideas a year for your action plan. Each month, a new idea is acted on. Examples: January = Teach everyone on the team those new euthanasia techniques. February = Begin handing out printed pet loss guides to every client. March = Review post-euthanasia body handling for maximum respect. April = Redesign the comfort room. If this schedule feels too lofty, maybe your team has a quarterly plan. Any and all steps in the right direction will leave a team feeling more satisfied. Change around euthanasia protocols takes time, but too much time can lead to stagnation. The goal is to make positive change to enhance the patient and client euthanasia experience and to put all that constructive euthanasia learning to use.

The Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA) offers a Master Certificate Program in euthanasia best practices and provides direct hospital training for those interested in team-wide protocol advancements.

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Dr. Kathleen Cooney

DVM, CHPV, CPEV, DACAW resident Founder, Senior Director of Education for the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy