Instructions for Clients Visiting Port Royal Animal Hospital – COVID19 Procedures – updated May 2021
~ We ask that you refrain from coming to our workplace if you are ill (or immunocompromised). For the safety of our workplace for all, please be honest in informing us of any COVID19 symptoms or recent exposure to known infection or travel-related self-isolation that is taking place in your household or bubble. We are still able to accept your pet if urgent care is required, but please call us ahead to give us time to prepare for these special circumstances.
FOR A VETERINARY EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 902-532-7387 FOR ASSISTANCE.
Please note our hospital hours:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8 AM to 5 PM
- Wednesday, Friday 8 AM to 1 PM
- We remain closed Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays.
The Veterinarian is available for emergencies ONLY, outside of these hours. If you have a veterinary emergency, please call 902-532-7387, for assistance. If your call does not result in an emergency visit, there is a telephone consulting fee of $29 plus GST to consult with the veterinarian after hours. The veterinarian is not able to consult via phone for callers that are not clients/for patients she has not previously examined. If you are visiting the area or have recently moved here and are not certain of the urgency of your pet’s concerns, we recommend you call your regular veterinarian first, for advice. Then, on their direction, call our veterinarian for assistance.
~ Please CALL AHEAD (902)-532-7387:
o For a veterinary emergency
o To announce your arrival
o To arrange an appointment
o To PRE-ORDER pet food, Rx refills, and supplies (alternatively, you may email: email@example.com, to pre-order supplies or ask general questions)
~ Please, maintain a 2-meter physical distance from our staff and other clients, whether inside OR outside the hospital, wearing a face mask, which properly covers the nose and mouth.
~ Wearing of a face mask, which properly covers the nose and mouth, is required for entry into our hospital. At this time, entry is restricted to 1 person at a time, and for payment purposes only. Special circumstances, such as end of life procedures, will be addressed with clients individually, and every effort will be made to respect their wishes at this difficult time, while respecting COVID19 directives.
~ We continue to provide “curbside” service for appointments, for surgical admits, and for those who choose not to wear a mask or enter the hospital:
- Please wait, in your vehicle, in one of our marked parking spaces in front of our hospital; call (902)532-7387 to announce your arrival.
- Please have your pet, secured (dog-on leash/cat-in carrier), in the rear, passenger-side seat of your vehicle; it is preferable that only 1 person be in the vehicle for our team member to remove the pet; that team member will then escort your pet into the hospital for their appointment while you wait, in your vehicle. We are doing our best to run an efficient schedule and reduce your waiting time as well as your pet’s time in our hands and away from you. For most wellness visits, the patient will be in and out in a short period of time, and require you to be available when they are returned to you. Our schedule cannot proceed if you’ve left to run an errand during your appointment time. Please remain in your car with your cell phone (on and charged), so that we may call you during the appointment. For those without a cell phone, the Dr will be coming to your vehicle to discuss findings and recommendations.
~ There is considerable effort being made to reduce the actual time the patient spends in the hospital, or waiting in the parking lot/vehicle– we are doing this in several ways:
- We have adopted a ‘pre-visit intake interview’, often taking place the day before, so we may prepare ahead of time as much as possible for the needs of your pet, as well as managing our time and yours, whether waiting in your vehicle or in contact with the Dr or staff. This includes preparation and emailing of a treatment plan/estimate of cost. If possible for you to print and sign, +/- scan back to us, this is ideal, so there is agreement to this plan. Otherwise, please respond to the email with your consent, or any questions or revisions, OR when our team comes to collect your pet for its appointment, please make us aware of any changes or questions about the treatment plan BEFORE the team works to complete the treatment plan.
- We are altering our appointment schedule to reduce ‘traffic’ at any one time, but also maximize how many patients we are able to accommodate.
- With our protocols we are permitted to extend our services beyond urgent or emergency care to include our full range of services – eg. elective surgery (spays and neuters, etc) and dentistry, and have carefully planned our schedule to accommodate as many patients as is reasonable. Please do your best to respect your appointment time.
- Some consultations may still best be done by phone or even email, for a fee. This is only available for existing, active patients of this hospital. You may have a simple question or concern that may not require a hands-on exam. In this case, I suggest you contact us via this website with your question and include any photos, if pertinent, and a phone number and time(s) best to reach you. Please recognize there limits to how soon we may respond, and we don’t recommend this as a way to communicate an urgent care need. If the telemedicine consult results in having a patient appointment, the appointment fee will be decreased accordingly.
- We are able to offer nail trims, but have limited them to our patients only, as well as to our schedule.
- We recognize that unforeseen issues (eg. emergencies, previously unknown health problems uncovered by the examination, or computer crankiness), will sometimes wreak havoc to our carefully planned schedule. We ask that you have patience and understanding if our schedule is not going as desired, and please do your best to respect your appointment time.
- We recognize that many clients would rather be present with their pet for its appointment. I would like to assure you that your family-member is being treated kindly and respectfully, and we make every effort to make your pet’s experience as anxiety-free as possible, and will discuss our concerns, if any, relating to that, so future visits may be improved for your pet and you.
~ In order to facilitate client entry to accommodate additional methods of payment, we have done the following:
- Installed a clear, impervious barrier at the front desk to allow use of the point of sale machine, and have added the ‘tap’ feature to reduce hand to hand contact. If your method of payment is cash, please place it on the counter and likewise, receive your change from the counter (and not directly pass to/from our team member). We invite you to use the provided hand sanitizer prior to and following this interaction.
- Our most significant modification is the placement of a team member with the specific task of ‘gatekeeper’. She is tasked with managing the entry/exiting and presence of clients and patients in our hospital, escorting patients and orders to/from for curbside service, cleaning of surfaces between each person, cleaning exam rooms between patients, and more.
These protocols have allowed us to keep serving our patients, during a time when many businesses have had to close or significantly reduce their services. The protocols have not been made without significant thought and planning and consistent implementation. Without these protocols it would significantly reduce how many patients we can serve in a day. At some point, we hope to resume in-person appointments, and that decision will depend on COVID19 protocols, but also the demands and pressures of our schedule. Like most veterinary hospitals, our schedules are full at the moment, trying to ‘catch up’ when additional constraints are placed, and also with more new patients needing care. It simply takes more time, and bodies, and ongoing vigilance to ensure our workplace is safe and our patients are served.
Please remember, we are doing our best to serve our patients and clients under very challenging circumstances. We, as veterinarians, are duty-bound to respect the public health directives as they change, regardless of being an essential service. Our hospital team takes this very seriously. With each change in directive, we have to ‘pivot’ and do our best to protect our clients and hospital family, while regaining efficiency. If we are not getting it right, and one of our team becomes ill with COVID19, it may result in a 2 week closure of the hospital, or worse. At the time of this edit, some of our team has received their first COVID vaccination, with others having secured appointments for theirs. While we recognize that our protocols will not change overnight despite being inoculated, our team is committed to getting our ‘shot in the arm’ for our clients’ benefit, our community’s benefit, our personal benefit, and ultimately, the benefit of our patients.
We appreciate how very patient and kind and grateful largely our clients have been during this time – that in itself has made this unique stress and strain on our team that much more bearable.
Jody Cunningham, DVM
August 20, 2020
*updated December 2020 **updated May 2021