The focus of human healthcare is preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease—perhaps to preserve life at all costs. Recent high-profile cases and discussions within popular literature have highlighted the friction that can occur between this mindset and end-of-life care.There is evidence of a cultural shift in the conversations related to end-of-life care in humans. However, few healthcare providers feel prepared to engage in this conversation and even fewer patients know how to broach the topic. The veterinary oath is explicit in the mandate to prevent and relieve animal suffering.  End-of-life and euthanasia discussions are a major component of veterinarians’ professional lives. Furthermore, roughly half of the US population has pets, meaning they have most likely encountered end-of-life issues and discussions through their experience with the human-animal bond.  

Objective: Evaluate the potential of veterinarians to contribute meaningfully to health professions CME and to support the larger cultural conversation.

Methods: The poster will describe recent efforts at major CME meetings to introduce veterinarians as part of inter-professional education.  

Findings: Human healthcare providers were open to the value of using veterinary case studies to examine their approach to end-of-life care and more ideas were generated. 

Discussion: Pairing veterinary and human healthcare educators can augment continuing education efforts. The human-animal bond is a powerful tool that can be used to address medical conditions like weight loss and depression, not to mention providing format to examine end-of-life care.     

CARY, Julie* Clinical Communication Program, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Pullman WA, USA