Written by Dr. Wittenburg
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, to say the least, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has forced us to accept many changes in the way we care for our pets and ourselves. One of those changes is curbside veterinary care.
All of us have had to adapt to dry hands due to the excessive use of hand sanitizer and wearing facial coverings to adhere to mandatory mask mandates. It has been challenging to adjust to this “new normal.”
Brook-Falls Curbside Service
Additionally, many veterinary hospitals, including Brook-Falls, offer curbside veterinary care service, virtual visits through a video app portal, and an explanation of diagnostics over the phone. As we navigate these challenging times, our goal is to provide you and your pet the highest quality service and continued great care that we have always done and keep everyone’s safety top of mind. We want to use this as an opportunity to be open and discuss the pros and cons of the “New Normal” and what it means for your pets’ care.
The Veterinary Information Network (VIN.com), an online community of resources and education for veterinarians organized by veterinarians, has made a short video about the challenges that every veterinary clinic and client faces in these unprecedented times.
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital & Exotic Care is facing similar challenges and is making changes to address the concerns of our clients and staff so the care we provide to our patients remains uncompromised.
The Veterinary Information Network also manages veterinarypartner.com, a veterinary information resource designed to explain medical information to owners of pets. This website aims to provide instant access to “breaking news” to veterinarians and clients to connect and empower the profession. We encourage clients to bookmark this page for the latest veterinary news, especially news revolving around the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Curbside Veterinary Care Challenges
- Brook-Falls continues to serve our clients and their pets and has been able to keep its doors open. Thankfully, we have not been affected by staff shortages and have an amazing and dedicated team of medical professionals and support staff that love animals and have many years of experience with all of the species that we see.
- Brook-Falls has adopted specific safety protocols that have allowed us to remain open and offer the same quality of care. We have not had to close the clinic at any time during this pandemic.
- Brook-Falls can be more flexible and adapt to your needs by offering virtual visits, through our Airvet app, where you can speak and/or video conference with one of our veterinarians, if available, or another board-certified veterinarian 24/7 to answer any questions and address basic medical concerns.
- Brook-Falls is following all CDC guidelines on preventative measures during the pandemic. Our staff is wearing masks at all times, washing hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces and exam rooms routinely, and practicing social distancing, among other things. We have heightened our cleaning and disinfection protocols to keep your pets, family, and our staff safe.
- While Brook-Falls is continues to serve clients via curbside veterinary care, we still allow clients to be present in the building for extenuating circumstances, challenging exams, or time to say goodbye to your pet. We know how hard these times have been, and we understand and respect that these situations happen, and we need to be there for you and your pet. When clients are in our building, they are asked to wear masks, disinfect their hands, and practice social distancing with our staff.
- As we are serving clients curbside, there is an increase in the time you will spend on your phone with our clinic. Why am I speaking to someone several times? Once you arrive, you will talk with a client service representative to check-in for your pet’s appointment. They will confirm your name and pet’s name, check you in, record your location in our parking lot, and discuss your preferences for the check out process. We may ask to place a credit card on file to promote contactless payment after the appointment properly. Our goal is to be as thorough as possible and directly involve you in your pet’s care. To meet that goal, a certified veterinary technician (CVT/Nurse) or a trained veterinary assistant will call you to gather additional information before your pet is seen to help the doctor determine any concerns and your pet’s specific needs. Multiple phone calls may occur to collect additional information, receive permission for diagnostics, and discuss exam findings and next steps. We want to make sure that you are comfortable with all treatments and the level of care you receive at our veterinary hospital.
- Wait times have increased. We understand how frustrating this can be. As we spend more time on the phone and cannot merely talk to you quickly in the exam room like normal, this does create inefficiencies in our operations. We are doing our best to perform a complete assessment of your pet and give your pet the time and dedication it deserves. While offering curbside veterinary care, We appreciate your patience and understanding, and we are trying to make this process as accommodating as possible. We are happy to provide our wi-fi information to continue to perform any tasks you need to complete. We are happy to provide you with a bottle of water while you wait as well. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your experience more pleasant. Please also inform us if you are under any time constraints.
- At times it can be challenging trying to get through on the phone lines. We have increased the number of phone lines from 4 to 12 throughout 2020. Increasing our phone lines helps us to serve you promptly better. We have also expanded our wi-fi receivers to be able to connect to our parking lot. Please search for our wi-fi upon arriving to improve phone connectivity.
- Wi-fi: brookfalls guest
- Password: bfvguest
- Miscommunication can happen more often as we communicate over the phone and cannot see each other face to face. Miscommunications can also occur as we are wearing masks. This greatly limits our ability to practice non-verbal communication. While we make every effort to communicate effectively about your pet’s services and needs, at times, there may be misunderstandings, and we apologize for that. We appreciate you trusting us with the care of your pet and want to communicate clearly and effectively. If you feel that things are not clear or are not being properly understood, please have a doctor discuss your concerns or speak with a member or our management team to discuss further.
- Separation from your pets is not ideal. As pet owners ourselves, we empathize and know how challenging that can be, especially when they are ill, anxious, or injured. We care about your pet as much as you do, and want to see them happy and healthy. We continue to uphold the same standards of care as when you are present with your pet. You can be assured that your pet is getting treats (if allowed) and extra snuggles from our staff during their visit.
We hope this information is helpful and can help us better understand the “New Normal” of veterinary care and its challenges to clinics and clients. Please be open with us and let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding our current policies. A thorough listing of our policies can be found on the front page of our website: www.brookfallsveterinary.com. The doctors and staff at Brook-Falls look forward to continuing to care for your furred, feathered, and scaled friends, whatever the future may hold.
Please contact us with any questions you may have.