Implementing a senior care program in your practice (Proceedings)


Implementing a senior care program in your practice (Proceedings)

Apr 01, 2008

A Senior Care Program provides a proactive comprehensive health care platform that addresses the older patient's special needs in a marketable package. This specialized medical service allows you to increase the standard of care you provide your senior patients. The program is based on two premises; first there are fundamental differences in the specific diseases, behavior problems, and the nutritional needs of the older pet; secondly that prevention, early detection, and timely intervention of medical problems can have a significant impact on the longevity and quality of life of an older pet. Recently the AAHA came out with Senior Care guidelines. A copy can be found on their website;

Senior Care changes the way veterinarians traditionally approach the senior pet. Senior Care is a more inclusive health care program starting at seven years of age and advocating twice-yearly evaluations. However, the major benefit of Senior Care is the Industry support form companies like IDEXX, IAMS and Fort Dodge. IDEXX 's continued commitment to the program provides your practice with age related in house and referral laboratory diagnostics plus all the marketing and implementation tools necessary to make Senior Care successful in your practice. Tools for client education, health data gathering and health reporting tools, patient diagnostic and management charts plus program implementation tips are currently available.

Why build a Senior Care program in your practice? By advocating more comprehensive histories, performing more complete physical examinations, and recommending more diagnostic testing of older pets, you are providing higher quality veterinary medicine for your senior patients. A great deal of professional satisfaction for you and your staff comes from helping those long established senior patients live longer healthier lives. Plus managing most age related disease in the early phases is far more rewarding than the "end stage". Senior Care can be a major profit center for your practice. With over 39% of the pet population considered seniors, tremendous financial opportunities exist.

While the veterinary profession has been very successful at providing comprehensive health care programs for the puppies and kittens, there are almost 2 1/4 times as many senior pets as puppies and kittens and dogs are puppies for one year but are seniors for four to ten years. By taking a more detailed history on the senior pet, performing a more complete physical examinations, and submitting more diagnostic tests, not only are you increasing the standard of care you provide your senior patients, but approximately 40% of those patients will now require additional diagnostic testing, medication or therapy. Ultimately a properly implemented Senior Care program can represent 35% or more of your gross annual income.

A Senior Care program implies both a preventative and comprehensive therapeutic approaches to management of acute and chronic conditions in aging dogs and cats. The program emphasizes client education, prevention, early detection, and timely medical intervention.

Four Essential Components Of Any Senior Care Program Should Include;
1. Preventative Health programs
2. A comprehensive patient health assessment (discovery)
3. A formal review period where all the findings are communicated to the owner and
4. A formulating specific short & long term action plans A scheduled follow-up