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Introducing AAHA’s new End-of-Life Care accreditation

“A good euthanasia is one that holds beauty in the presence of extreme sadness and heartbreak,” says Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, CCFP, a member of the 2016 AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-Life Care Guidelines task force. “It is transformative for all loved ones left behind.”

A past president of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) and the director of education for the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, Cooney says euthanasia is one of the most important procedures that you provide to your patients. Companion animals hold a special place in the hearts of their caregivers, so It’s imperative that everything goes well and that everyone present feel safe and supported.

In an effort to help veterinary practitioners elevate end-of-life care for companion animals, AAHA now offers an End-of-Life Care accreditation option for veterinary practices as part of the AAHA Standards of Accreditation.

Cooney led a task force composed of AAHA’s Member Experience team and subject matter experts to establish the standards for AAHA’s End-of-Life Care accreditation. Many of the standards are based on the 2016 AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-Life Care Guidelines.

“The End-of-Life Care accreditation standards [are] the blueprint [for] for best practices for hospital teams,” Cooney told NEWStat. “Everyone will benefit from this initiative.”

“Today’s pet owners view their pets as family members,” said AAHA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Janice L. Trumpeter, DVM. “A poor euthanasia experience can irreparably damage the bond that a pet owner shares with their veterinary practice and the entire healthcare team. End-of-Life Care accreditation will help veterinary teams provide appropriate supportive and emotional care during these difficult periods, further enhancing and strengthening the human-animal bond.”

Eligible practices—brick and mortar and/or mobile—are those that either provide only end-of-life care or practices that are already AAHA accredited or preaccredited. Practices that are not AAHA accredited and are not standalone end-of-life care practices are ineligible for AAHA’s End-of-Life Care accreditation.

Practices interested in learning more or pursuing AAHA’s End-of-Life Care accreditation can contact [email protected].

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