Caring for Aggressive Patients In clinic (Managing Challenging Patients without Losing your Mind or Hurting your Heart)
One of the biggest challenges veterinarians face is providing high quality care to patients that are uncooperative and potentially dangerous. The real fear of injury, the use of heavy restraint, the drain on staff all wear away our morale. These encounters are the stuff that burnout is made of.
We are lucky to be in the midst of a sea change in patient care. Behavior modification techniques developed for the veterinary care of captive wild animals can be used with fearful and fear aggressive companion animals. Cooperative care techniques invite animals to opt in to treatment in exchange for rewards while allowing them to opt out when they become anxious or fearful. Where force and restraint fail, agency and choice can work wonders. Pre-visit and point of care sedation is another important tool in managing stressed and aggressive patients. This talk will address both behavioral and pharmacological approaches to providing the care for our most challenging patients.