Factors associated with client, staff, and student satisfaction regarding small animal euthanasia procedures at a veterinary teaching hospital

François Martin People-Pet Partnership Program and Counseling Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7010.

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Kathleen L. Ruby People-Pet Partnership Program and Counseling Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7010.

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Tiffany M. Deking People-Pet Partnership Program and Counseling Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7010.

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Anne E. Taunton People-Pet Partnership Program and Counseling Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7010.

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Abstract

Objective—To identify factors influencing satisfaction with procedures for small animal euthanasia and to compare the relative importance of those factors among clients, staff, and students at a veterinary teaching hospital.

Design—Survey.

Sample Population—18 nonclinical hospital staff members, 13 clinical staff members, 10 veterinary technicians, 19 veterinary students, and 91 clients.

Procedure—Participants were asked to complete a survey that was designed to assess satisfaction with various aspects of the euthanasia procedure.

Results—Overall response rate was 48% (151/313). Respondents most strongly agreed with the statements that clients should have the option to be present, that having a private place was important, and that employees should be trained to attend to the emotional needs of the client. When asked to place factors in order of importance, those that were ranked the highest included compassionate and caring attitudes of the hospital employees, the option for the client to be present during the euthanasia, and the client being informed and well prepared.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Overall, all groups (nonclinical staff, clinical staff, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and clients) identified the same factors as being important in the euthanasia of a pet. Results may help facilitate healthy euthanasia experiences. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1774–1779)

Abstract

Objective—To identify factors influencing satisfaction with procedures for small animal euthanasia and to compare the relative importance of those factors among clients, staff, and students at a veterinary teaching hospital.

Design—Survey.

Sample Population—18 nonclinical hospital staff members, 13 clinical staff members, 10 veterinary technicians, 19 veterinary students, and 91 clients.

Procedure—Participants were asked to complete a survey that was designed to assess satisfaction with various aspects of the euthanasia procedure.

Results—Overall response rate was 48% (151/313). Respondents most strongly agreed with the statements that clients should have the option to be present, that having a private place was important, and that employees should be trained to attend to the emotional needs of the client. When asked to place factors in order of importance, those that were ranked the highest included compassionate and caring attitudes of the hospital employees, the option for the client to be present during the euthanasia, and the client being informed and well prepared.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Overall, all groups (nonclinical staff, clinical staff, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and clients) identified the same factors as being important in the euthanasia of a pet. Results may help facilitate healthy euthanasia experiences. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1774–1779)

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