Client Education, Instructions, and Follow-up
With each pain management plan, it is important that the client be given specific instructions, both verbally and in writing, including when the next assessment is recommended. Where owners play a critical role, such as in the provision of cold therapy following surgery or in weight management and exercise for chronic joint pain, they should be given clear instructions and guidance in the medium best suited to them (e.g., digital versus paper). As treatment progresses and pain control improves, modifications to instructions should be made clearly and in full consultation with the owner. It is important that owners be made aware of potential adverse drug effects and of the action to take if these are seen. Especially for cats, technicians should provide a hands-on demonstration on how to administer medications and handle the pet at home.
Compliance will improve if the pet owner understands the treatment schedule, a demonstration is given, video links are provided, and technicians actively engage in follow-up at regular intervals. Clients should be encouraged to address their concerns about the pet’s condition and treatment plan via email, phone, or followup consultations. Finally, providing pet owners with quality, accessible online or in-person education will foster client goodwill and improve compliance and patient care as owners are welcomed as part of the management team.