Survey: Seeing Pet ‘Most Common Dying Wish’

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The most common special request from hospice patients is to see a pet or animal, according to a poll of hospice staff by Help the Hospices.

Sixty per cent of hospice staff said that one of the most popular requests from patients with life-limiting and terminal illnesses was to see a beloved pet or spend the day with a favourite animal. This was closely followed by arranging romantic occasions such as weddings or date nights (57%) and celebrations and parties (50%), in the poll of 56 members of staff from hospices across the UK.

The results show the lengths hospices will go to in order to help seriously ill patients and their families to make the most of each day – from arranging for a monkey to visit a young patient who had always wanted one of his own to organising a fairytale wedding and honeymoon for a young bride and her fiancé with just four days notice.

Heather Richardson, national clinical lead for Help the Hospices, said:

“For some people facing the end of life, it’s the small things that can make the biggest difference – like having a drink with friends, getting to a family birthday party or seeing a beloved pet. Others may have big goals that they would like to achieve – like travelling to a meaningful destination, marrying the love of their life or arranging a living funeral.

“Whatever means the most to someone – from weird and wonderful requests to simple wishes like being cared for in their own home – hospices go to amazing lengths to fulfil patients’ wishes as well as their clinical needs, and to help them to live well until they die. It can also be a profound comfort to bereaved family and friends to know that their loved one was able to fulfil a dream and live life to the full.”

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