**Updated** Instructions for pet owners visiting Port Royal Animal Hospital. **effective June 8th, 2020
FOR A VETERINARY EMERGENCY,
PLEASE CALL 902-532-7387
We at Port Royal Animal Hospital are committed to the health and well-being of all creatures. We have always been committed to proper disinfection methods of our workplace in which we serve.
That being said, in accordance with the STATE OF EMERGENCY in Nova Scotia due to COVID-19 the way we conduct ourselves has changed significantly. Rest assured, we continue to provide compassionate care for our patients and clients. The Nova Scotia Public Health Authority has recently announced its approval for the “Stage 1 Re-opening Phase” put forth by the NS Veterinary Medical Association. In the words of Dr. Strang, NS CMO, “All members of your association are responsible to not only operate in accordance with the Proposal, but also have an obligation to ensure their clients comply with them. Ultimately, it is your members’ decision to open and on doing so, assume any liability arising from their respective operations.”
At Port Royal Animal Hospital, this will be in effect as of Monday, June 8th, 2020. Our team is dedicated to respecting these public health measures in our workplace as well in our personal lives for the safety of our clients and patients, our families, and our communities (local and global).
The following are the revised protocols for our workplace:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8 AM to 5 PM
- Wednesday, Friday 8 AM to 1 PM
- We remain closed Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
~ Please CALL AHEAD (902)-532-7387:
o For a veterinary emergency
o To announce your arrival
o To arrange an appointment
o To PREORDER pet food, Rx refills, and supplies
~ Please, maintain a 2-meter physical distance from our staff and other clients, whether inside OR outside the hospital
~ 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. 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.
~ Our clients will now be able to enter the hospital with their pet, with the following stipulations:
1) only 1 person per 1 pet at 1 time
2) wearing a face mask is required to enter the hospital with your pet
Addendum – June 18th/2020 – Until further notice, we will continue to accept patients “curbside” only, and limit entry for the purposes of payment. End of life services will be considered differently, on a case by case basis (regarding client entry), and every effort will be made to respect client’s choices, while also respecting COVID19 directives.
This is disappointing for many, I know, and I have so enjoyed seeing you back in the office again! I’ll be honest; however, I am amazed how well (more confident?) the patients seem to accept their exam and procedures while I have been performing them without their owners present. They are so good that I can be more efficient in my examinations and procedures, which significantly reduces how long they have to “endure” being in the hospital – this makes for a more positive experience for your pet!
The reasons for going back to restricting entry of clients are several; the most significant is we are finding the time needed to escort people in and out, and cleaning of the exam room between visitors, is significantly impeding how many patients can be accommodated in our schedule. We are already doing our best to catch up with the back log of annual appointments and also elective surgeries, that were not permitted until recently. Restricting entry will free up precious time to be able to see last minute emergencies or urgent care, without having to reschedule non-emergent appointments, also at the last minute. Until it appears the schedule can bear it again, we will likely continue curbside appointments for some time.
The other reasons are more directly COVID19 -related: We have been finding that some clients are not wearing their masks appropriately, or remove it while the Dr is not in the room, or ‘forget’ that 6 ft distancing is a requirement for being in the room with the veterinarian. While we do our best on our end to plan and facilitate COVID19-safe practices, it is unnerving when a client is not respectful of the measures we need to take in order to keep our hospital open and serving our patients.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Jody Cunningham, DVM
~ For those who choose not to wear a mask, or who would rather not accompany their pet into the hospital, we will continue to offer “curbside” service:
- 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; (if at some point it becomes too hot for you or your pet to remain in your vehicle, instead of keeping your vehicle idling, please take advantage of the green space at the rear of the building; efforts are being made to provide a sun shelter as well).
~ There is considerable effort being made to reduce the actual time spent in the hospital and especially the “in-consultation-room” contact time with the Dr, or waiting in the parking lot/car– 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.
- We are altering our appointment schedule to reduce ‘traffic’ at any one time. With our revised protocols we are now permitted to extend our services beyond urgent or emergency care to include elective surgery (spays and neuters, etc) and dentistry. Some consultations may be best done by phone. We will once again be able to offer nail trims, but will need to limit 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.
~ In order to facilitate client entry, whether to accompany their pet, or 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 exam rooms between clients, and more.
Please remember, we are doing our best to serve our patients and clients under very challenging circumstances. The first phase of re-opening is exciting and welcomed on a number of levels, for sure, but it’s an entirely new learning curve that will take some patience and fine-tuning to get there and get it right. 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. We appreciate how very patient and kind and grateful 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
June 2nd, 2020