November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and hospice and palliative care programs across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about hospice and palliative care. Hospice is not a place but is high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness.

Hospice and palliative care combines the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing a serious illness or the end of life.  As part of this support, many hospices also offer Pet Peace of Mind®, a national program designed to address a patient’s pet care needs.

Pet Peace of Mind recognizes and actively supports the unique bond between patients and their pets by allowing patients to complete their end of life journey without worrying about their pet’s current or future needs. The program trains hospices how to utilize delivered by volunteers to provide pet care services for patients who are no longer able to care for their pets. Some of the services are dog walking, canine and feline waste clean-up, re-stocking  pet food, transporting pets to veterinary or grooming appointments,  arranging boarding when the patient must spend time in the hospital, and helping find new homes for pets after the patient’s death.

“The human-animal bond is incredibly special.  Many patients cannot imagine navigating their end of life journey without their pets”, said Dianne McGill, President of Pet Peace of Mind.  “This program provides a practical solution to helping them remain together until the end.  Once patients become too ill to care for their pets, Pet Peace of Mind volunteers are there to meet their needs,”

Founded in 2009, Pet Peace of Mind is the only national nonprofit offering this program to the hospice and palliative care community.