CVS brings clarity to contextualised care with the launch of "What Matters to You" guide for clinicians  - Veterinary Practice
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CVS brings clarity to contextualised care with the launch of “What Matters to You” guide for clinicians 

The group’s vets will, ask, listen, acknowledge and include what matters to clients in their animal’s care

CVS is aiming to bring clarity and simplicity to the ongoing debate about contextualised care with the launch of a simple guide for clinicians to talk through with clients about the treatment of their animal. 

Contextualised care, which is about including the client as well as the patient in clinical decision-making, is the lead topic at BVALive (6-7 June 2024) and has been noted by the Competition and Markets Authority recently as a “prominent topic in the veterinary sector”. There have been a number of attempts to give detailed guidance on how to deliver contextualised care in the consult room.  

As a result, CVS is aiming to introduce a simpler approach and is briefing its vets and nurses to Ask animal owners what matters to them, Listen to what matters, Acknowledge what matters and Include what matters in their animal’s care.  

The aim is shared decision-making between the veterinary professional and the animal owner in every consultation.  

Paul Higgs, chief veterinary officer for CVS, said the aim was to find a simple way of explaining contextualised care:  

“We need to have confidence in what contextualised care is, as there is a risk that we could be overcomplicating the concept. The reality is that most of us are doing contextualised care every day and that we are taking into account what the owner wants or needs for their animal. It’s not the same as medicine on a shoestring; there are many more important things to owners than just money. The skill of contextualised care is incorporating all of these things into the plan for the animal, and at CVS, we are providing this simple guide for how this can be achieved in that conversation. The desired outcome is that the owner feels deeply involved in the care of their pet with shared decision-making at the core of any plans. What matters to them matters to us.” 

The approach of asking “what matters to you” has become increasingly popular in the NHS as a way of encouraging meaningful conversations with patients and their families.  

By introducing it to animal healthcare, the aim is that the owner feels involved in the decision and understands how the owner considers important to them and their animal interacts with their animal’s healthcare needs. 

CVS’s “What Matters to You” approach will be communicated on social media for discussion with the profession and clients from the beginning of June.  

CVS has already defined contextualised care for veterinary professionals within its 2023 Clinical Governance Framework as: “Using a patient and owner-centred approach, respecting the importance of an animal owner’s perspective; prioritising individualised care plans that account for the complex interaction of all costs; and recognising that cost includes but is not limited to social, cultural, accessible, emotional, environmental, ethical and financial aspects.” 

CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices and referral centres in the UK and Australia. In the last five years, the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry-leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals. For further information on CVS, visit the website.

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