Veterinary practice design encompases a mini hospital setting. Surgery, imaging, consultation rooms, pharmacy and accommodation is required to function in a setting where the comfort of our animal friends is the highest priority. Generally, three different groups of people and animals will constantly be circulating through a veterinary clinic; your staff, the patients and pet owners. These 3 groups will all have varying priorities and perspectives while inside your clinic, so it’s important to put yourself in all of their shoes. Below we’ve explained some of the most essential factors when completing a veterinary fit out:
It’s crucial to ensure that your veterinary practice is designed around a pet-friendly experience. Animals who are anxious or unnerved by their surroundings will make uncooperative patients which will make your job more difficult and will likely cause the pet owner to become stressed. Below are just some of the ways you can make your practice more animal friendly:
- When possible, provide separate waiting areas for cats and dogs: Since they’re already in an unfamiliar setting or feeling nervous, dogs are more likely to become riled up by cats which will, in turn, cause any cats to feel stressed out. A breakout area outside the waiting room with an artificial turf floor may also be a calming remedy for unsettled pets.
- Recessed Floor Scales: Are an unobtrusive addition to the waiting room space, and are easy for pets to be weighed without them being aware
- Avoid overstimulation: Most of the animals coming to be treated in your practice will already have heightened emotions. Avoid too many bold colours or patterns as well as loud noises which are likely to overwhelm or scare the animals. Blue and violet have been proven to be emotionally calming colours for many animals.
- Have soundproofing: The sound of barks, yelps or squealing will be alarming to your other patients and will only serve to put them more on edge. Insulation can be installed in the ceiling or wall space, or could also be decorative acoustic applications that also enhance visual appeal too.
As a veterinary practice owner or manager, it’s crucial that you also make the pet owners feel at ease. They are, after all, the decision-makers. Pet owners consider their cat, dog or animal a much-loved family member, so they need to know that their pet is in good hands when it comes to healthcare.
- Have a welcoming waiting room: This is the first impression pet owners will get of your practice, and they’ll likely spend some time there so they’ll have plenty of opportunities to look around. Make sure it’s a warm space where pet owners feel comfortable, otherwise they might be put off booking a return appointment. Often retail spaces, a photo wall of happy animal clients, educational themes on TV monitors, are useful means of conveying professional standards and creating a comfortable and secure place.
- Include spacious examination rooms: When fitting out a new veterinary practice or renovating your existing one, it’s a good idea to include spacious examination rooms in your practice to allow circulation space around the examination table and seating for the family.
- Overnight Facilities: Having the space to accommodate overnight facilities for pets takes the worry over having to care for sick pets at home. Incorporate spaces for separate cat and dog cages in an airconditioned environment
It’s very important that you design and create a practice where your veterinary staff will be able to focus on doing their job without having to spend too much time getting patients under control or without having to put the patient through unnecessary stress. Here’s how you can do that:
- Equipment: Considering space for diagnostic equipment, whether it be an imaging room or laboratory area, can maximise your service capability. Even a laundry space and smaller items such as leash shackles enhance the day to day smooth running of a practice.
- Workflow & Overall Design: Whilst the public areas, reception, waiting and consults are the face of the practice, the flow behind the scenes is where the efficiency is of the utmost importance. Consult rooms need to have direct access to treatment and pharmacological areas. The animal cage positions are most functional between the treatment and surgical spaces with a centralised steri room.