By Marianne DiMola

I had a painful phone call yesterday. Some of you may not know that I was a home care director earlier in my career. I serve as a Board Trustee for a dog and cat rescue group and have since 2007 (EASEL). A hospice case manager called and was near tears as she explained that her dying patient has two dogs that have been crated for most of her illness. The family seems disinterested, she was hoping I could offer suggestions for rehoming them. One dog is 12 and the other is 14 and seems ill.

Unfortunately, she was too far away from me to offer any immediate help. My suggestions didn't feel helpful either. For those of you who don't know if you call an animal shelter unless there are non-kill shelters, most likely these two dogs will be put down due to age. With additional medical costs, almost certainly.

Her patient is now unconscious and unable to offer any help regarding shots, who their veterinarian is, or any pertinent information to assist in their care.

Hopefully, most of you have something in place, if not I offer the following suggestions.

In the assessment ask what the plan is for the animals. Is there a designated family, or friend that is going to care for and/or take these animals? Even if they're receiving home health, something could happen, and they could be hospitalized. What's the plan?

You should plan for your pets’ care in case of emergencies. Pets should be part of your estate planning. You can place a sticker on the front window or door stating what pets are in the house for first responders. A note in your wallet that you have a pet home alone with a contact number.

Designate someone willing to take your pets or responsibly rehome your pets. You can leave a donation to a rescue group in the will, with the stipulation that your pet is rehomed.

One couple left us their house with the provision we rehome their two indoor cats and two feral cats. The indoor cats were rehomed easier than the feral cats! I (of course) was the closest and went twice a day to check on them and feed them. The new owners said they would care for the feral cats, so the house was sold to them. We did several checks to make sure they were cared for. Almost a year later a neighbor contacted us with concern for the cats. We did a wellness check and sadly she was correct. Fortunately, the neighbor was willing to take the cats which was an easy adjustment for them.

Vetting and making arrangements with a reliable rescue group is highly recommended in the absence of someone you know.

I would love to hear any additional suggestions!

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Bio: Marianne DiMola has more than twenty-five years of experience in healthcare human resources management and career development. Her experience includes branch directorships with two of the country's leading home health care organizations, Bayada Nurses and Nursefinders. She is a founding member of CMSA's TriChapter NewYork Conferences and served as the Executive Director of the New York City Chapter of CMSA for twenty years. In addition, Marianne was one of the founders of Pathway Medical Staffing, a nationally recognized leader providing case management recruitment and retention advisory services, HEDIS staffing, and project management. Ms. DiMola was also the Senior Vice President of National Sales and Operations for Medical Staffing Network, Care Management and Vice President of Care Management at Cross Country. Ms. DiMola is currently President and founder of Global Care Management, specialist in care management staffing and consulting. Ms. DiMola presented "Essential Strategies" at the CMSA National Conference and CMSA, NYC Chapter in 2011, Long Island CMSA Conference 2012, "The Secret Victory of Case Managers" at CMSA National in 2013 and in 2023 presented has authored and coauthored, "Essential Strategies to Cultivate Your Career" for the Professional Case Management; Vol. 17/No. 5 and "Next Level Case Management Guide. Co -authored The Great Exodus Hitting Case Management CMSAtoday · Mar 28, 2022 and Successful Tips For Submitting Your Resume In A Digital World CMSAtoday · Jan 4, 2022 and Regional Impact of COVID-19 on Acute Case Management Practice Regional Impact of COVID-19 on Acute Case Management Practice. Ms. Dimola has additional articles published in CMSAtoday in 2023. Marianne also serves on the board for EASEL, animal rescue group.