Dr. Laurie Brush received more than a dose of warm sunshine in Arizona during her visit to the annual conference for the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) earlier this month. She became one of the first graduates to receive a new advanced Certification as a Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian.
The IAAHPC founded the continuing education program in 2016 to advance the study in hospice and palliative care for licensed veterinarians and credentialed veterinary technicians. The 100-hour AHPC Certification Program standardizes and defines the skills and knowledge required of animal hospice and palliative care providers, and establishes a standard of care that reflects excellence.
“Heaven at Home was founded in 2012 when the notion of home hospice and at-home euthanasia for pets was almost unheard of in Grand Rapids and most of Michigan,” Dr. Brush said. “IAAHPC has been an extremely valuable resource for myself and my staff to ensure we’re offering the highest level of care for companion animals at the end of their lives. I’m delighted to have been among the first 100 graduates of this new Certification Program, because it stands for compassionate end-of-life care across the country. Every pet deserves a peaceful passing with their beloved family members.”
The certification typically takes 16 months to complete, with segments on pain management, animal comfort, euthanasia techniques and ways to help families find peace and manage grief. The certification requires documentation of Case Studies, as well as on-site practical study and examination.
“It is demanding when you’re busy as we are, but we’re committed to keeping up with the latest research and techniques in our field to give the very best care to our clients fur-babies,” Dr. Brush said.
In 2013, the IAAHPC developed comprehensive guidelines for the practice of animal hospice and palliative care, which are now widely recognized among the veterinary community (see AAHA/IAAHPC End-Of-Life Care Guidelines, 2016). Since its inception in 2009, IAAHPC has helped popularize and promote the value of skilled end-of-life care for companion animals.
“There is a gap—treacherous yet barely recognized—between how we care for companion animals during their lifetime, and how we care for them during the end phase of their lives,” said Dr. Amir Shanan, IAAHPC founder and honorary advisor. “This gap has a tremendous cost in human suffering and grief, which is also barely recognized. Our program is aimed at giving veterinary professionals the tools for closing this gap.”