Overnight Nursing Care for your Pet

When the rest of Asheville is asleep, there is a team of dedicated Overnight Care Technicians/Assistants at Animal Hospital of North Asheville awake and attending to patient needs so that a patient is never alone or in need of care. Veterinary technicians or veterinary assistants work set shifts so that someone is always awake and gently caring for any pet hospitalized at Animal Hospital of North Asheville.  It is extremely rare to have staff paid for night shifts to be awake and attentive to patients all night long in a veterinary hospital.  If your pet ever needs to stay overnight at our hospital, you can rest easier knowing that Elena, Crystal, Karlyn and/or Robin are constantly monitoring your pet’s status and providing lots of tender loving care.

These caring team members have responsibility for all hospitalized patients during the night. Excellent patient care and maintaining comfortable and relaxed patients is their number one priority. Each patient has a flow sheet for each 24 hour period that shows what is to be recorded about the patient or performed for the patient. The flow sheet is very complete and shows among other things treatments (pills, injections, fluid types and additives, etc.), patient’s vitals, fluid rates, food and water intake, eliminations, and diagnostic tests. The overnight shift stays busy doing all sorts of treatments, IV catheter care, bandage adjustments, feeding, bedding changes, and most important they are there holding and comforting each and every patient during the night. The TLC is constant!  Our patients have the great benefit of being one of only a handful of patients that stay in the hospital overnight so every detail of their care can be tailored to suit them.  Many nights there may be only one or two patients so the patient can actually be in someone’s arms, if they so desire, most of the night.  While we try to allow a peaceful night for our patients and respect their need for sleep, just like in human hospitals close monitoring requires frequent checking and often interrupts the patient’s sleep, but better to be careful!

Many of our overnight patients are recovering from surgery. Although the doctor has already updated the family, one of these caring team members will call the pet’s family in the evening to update them and reassure them that there will be someone caring for their pet all night. The lights are dimmed to make it easier to rest, but if any patient is still anxious, then individual attention is given as needed.  We realize that many of our patients have never slept anywhere but in the bed with a family member, so our goal is to provide constant reassuring love and comfort.

The doctors leave detailed instructions for pain medication so that no pet has to suffer physical discomfort.  Pain scores are monitored throughout the night and pain medications are adjusted as needed.  Because pain is harder to treat after it occurs, our goal is to stay ahead of the pain and prevent it.  IV catheters are in place so that even administering the medication is pain-free. Sometimes all that a pet needs is care and comfort, which the overnight team members are more than happy to provide.

If a patient's health status changes, the patient’s veterinarian will be called for instructions or to come to the hospital. Experience is important in these situations. Crystal, Karlyn, and Robin are all RVT's from the AB Tech program. Elena has many years of experience caring for patients in veterinary hospitals (5 years at AHNA!) and has just graduated from AB Tech as a Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic for people.