You know your clients are ready for you to reopen your doors, and your veterinary team may miss the face-to-face interaction with pet owners. But, can you safely reopen your veterinary hospital during this transition phase? With proper planning and preparation, you can keep your team and your community safe as you switch from curbside-only care to a hybrid protocol of limited occupancy. Here are six ways to get your veterinary practice ready to reopen its doors.
#1: Determine your in-hospital protocols
- How clients will enter your facility
- How clients will be directed in your lobby
- How many clients are allowed in your lobby
- How many clients are allowed in exam rooms
- If curbside pickup of prescriptions, food, and pets will be available
- How to schedule appointments to maintain a lower occupancy
- Staggering staff schedules to limit the number of people in the building
#2: Revise your veterinary hospital layout to keep your team and clients safe
When walking through your veterinary practice, is it tough to navigate the cramped hallways and common areas? If so, see if you can adjust the furniture layout for a more open space that allows people to remain six feet apart.
Consider the following further layout revisions and hospital additions that are designed to keep your clients and team safe:
- Add trash cans, tissues, and touchless hand sanitizer pumps to common areas and exam rooms
- Place exam tables between team members and clients whenever possible
- Move cramped workstations to a larger area or use common spaces as needed
- Mark one-way traffic patterns down your hallways and in your lobby
- Add floor signage to maintain adequate distancing while waiting at reception areas
- Install safety partitions at your front desk
While you can adjust your hospital layout to help guide clients and team members to maintain an appropriate distance, it will often be up to your CSRs to enforce the maximum occupancy numbers. And, although it will be difficult to stay six feet away from your coworkers, try to minimize situations where your team is crowded close together.
#3: Stock up on marketing materials
Before opening your doors again, peruse your marketing materials. Is your brochure rack filled with pamphlets on products you don’t even carry anymore? Or, maybe you’ve added a new service and want to advertise it to your clients. Swap old, outdated marketing materials for new brochures, and even consider switching to digital options.
#4: Create push notifications and social media posts to explain your new protocols
#5: Deep clean your veterinary hospital
#6: Perform a walk-through of your veterinary practice from a client’s perspective
Before welcoming clients back into your veterinary hospital, perform a walk-through of your practice to see it from your clients’ eyes. As you’ve become accustomed to focusing solely on pet care without owners watching over your shoulder, you may have accumulated heaps of items stuffed in forgotten corners, stockpiled on tables, or scattered in exam rooms. Take the time to put everything back in its place, and cast a critical eye around your practice to ensure it doesn’t appear cluttered and disorganized. If various pieces of equipment and medical supplies are living in random spots, it can look like your hospital is dirty, which can cause your clients to worry about disinfection protocols and re-entering your practice.
As you’re preparing to reopen your doors to clients—even if it is to only one at a time—consider using technology to help streamline your workflows and make communication among your team and clients more efficient. Many pet owners and their veterinarians have come to rely on technology and telemedicine to help provide top-notch care even during social distancing procedures, and having a customized hospital app can help you do just that. Find out how Vet2Pet can help your practice by scheduling a demo.
Heather Allman, CVT
A certified veterinary technician since 2004, Heather Allman also holds two bachelor’s degrees—one in business and the other in marketing. Putting these dual degrees to excellent use, she started her own veterinary marketing consulting business, and has worked as a marketing and creative director for a local veterinary hospital since 2016. As the Vet2Pet marketing manager, Heather wrangles and coordinates the marketing team, ensuring projects are delivered on time and remain true to the Vet2Pet brand. Discover more about Heather here.