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New ‘What Matters to You’ guide for clinicians

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 – 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 and, as a result, CVS says it 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”.


Paul Higgs, chief veterinary officer for CVS, says 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 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.”


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.”

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