BACKGROUND: Home care visits are crucial for individuals with palliative care (PC) needs, as they allow them to stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible or to pass away surrounded by loved ones. These visits also provide PC teams with the opportunity to understand the patient as a whole person, replete with their own individual stories and needs. One aspect that can be particularly significant in a patient's life is their relationship with animals and pets. So far, there are no case reports on patients living with a deer at home.
CASE DESCRIPTION: In this case, a patient with advanced non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was discharged from the emergency room to return home due to their desire to be with their loved ones. The hospital's PC team was consulted to ensure that the patient's needs were met at home. On the following day, the team was surprised to discover a special family member at the patient's residence: a deer. This deer was deeply affected by the patient's passing and was seen crying throughout the process.
CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights the importance of supporting patients to die at home, not only for the patient and their loved ones but also for their beloved animals. In this case, if the patient had passed away in the hospital, the deer would not have had the opportunity to say goodbye and may have struggled to understand and process the loss.