Helping you from diagnosis to treatment options
Oncology teleconsultation combines the expertise of the veterinary oncology specialist with the convenience of remote communication technology. Through virtual consultations, the specialist can provide guidance on cancer diagnosis, treatment options, and management strategies. This, in turn, can offer valuable support and reassurance for the owner during a challenging time.
We believe this represents a significant advancement in the accessibility and quality of care for pets diagnosed with cancer.
Strategies to improve your communication with the owners for oncological cases and beyond
Excellent communication with owners should be considered part of a high-quality veterinary assessment. Making a diagnosis is not the only important part of your assessment; creating trust and collaboration with the owners plays a significant role, too.
Here are some strategies you can implement to improve communication with the owners:
1. Active listening means being able to devote your full attention to what the owner conveys, not only during the history-taking session but also after treatment has commenced.
2. Being present: avoid looking at your phone or computer or emails and instead establish an eye to eye contact with the owners
3. Use of open-ended questions: avoid asking questions which have a yes or no type of answer. If you are limited in time (let’s face it, who isn’t?), try to use just one open-ended question.
4. Allow 1-2 minutes for the owner to be able to voice any doubts without being prompted
5. Use diagrams and drawings to improve the explanation of pathophysiology
6. Empathy: Make sure the owners know you understand the emotional side of the diagnosis, too.
7. Closed loop communication: use short summaries to reflect what the owner said
8. Place yourself at the same level as who is speaking, trying to match the owner's position (standing vs sitting)
9. Improve: dedicate part of your CPD to developing communication skills and seek feedback from colleagues
To conclude, we believe that improving communication can improve the overall quality of our work and standards.
Swayden, K.J., Anderson, K.K., Connelly, L.M., Moran, J.S., McMahon, J.K. and Arnold, P.M., 2012. Effect of sitting vs. standing on perception of provideer time at bedside: a pilot study. Patient education and counseling, 86(2), pp.166-171.
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