CVS has announced its intention to provide the service of trained Bereavement Support Advisors across all of its practices in the UK. To achieve this, it has initiated a training programme to equip its staff with the skills needed to help owners cope with the different stages of grief. Fifteen vets, nurses and animal nursing assistants have been enrolled on Blue Cross’ newly accredited online bereavement support course with a further 50 scheduled to take it later this year. The company says it plans to continue the roll-out of Blue Cross’ training in 2017.
CVS, the UK’s fastest growing practice, employs more than 2,000 vets, veterinary nurses and animal nursing assistants in 353 sites across the UK. Pet charity Blue Cross’ Pet Bereavement Support Skills Training is an NCFE-accredited seven-week distance learning course, designed to provide learners with a set of skills that will help them to better support bereaved pet owners. The training is based around seven modules, assessed by short answer essays, discussion forums and quizzes. Blue Cross has also developed a series of collaborative tasks and a Blue Cross Learning Toolkit.
Commenting, Deborah Orr, Business trainer and Course Leader at CVS’ e-learning facility, the MiNurse Academy, said: “Bereavement is something that our colleagues face daily in practice and it can be challenging to cope with the variety of ways in which people cope with the different stages of grief. A strong support network at this difficult time is vital, not only for the emotional wellbeing of the bereaved family, but also for the long term welfare of the veterinary team.
“Blue Cross has provided a support network for bereaved clients and has helped veterinary teams for many years so its expertise in this area is renowned. The development of this course and its recent accreditation have enabled us to work towards providing a higher level of support to bereaved owners in-house while also supporting a fantastic animal welfare charity. Because the training is provided through e-learning and online assessment, we can offer it colleagues right across the UK without them needing to travel long distances or affecting the daily functioning of their team. We are looking forward to having our first Bereavement Support Advisors in place by July and continuing the training of many more after that.”
Kirsty Hensby, Head Veterinary Nurse and Practice Manager at Raddenstiles Veterinary Surgery, who is undertaking the training, said: “So far, I have found the training very informative. It helps you to look at euthanasia and the death of a pet from the owner’s perspective and not to judge the decisions they take. It also explains the grieving process clearly and suggests approaches for helping clients and staff in these difficult situations.”
Tracie McGrory, Pet Bereavement Support Service Manager at Blue Cross, added: “Anyone who has lost a beloved pet knows what a difficult and emotional time it can be. We’re really pleased to be working with CVS and that it is using our accredited online support course to train its teams. Our course can really help those working in the veterinary profession, who so often help owners dealing with the loss of a pet.”