While normal business safety practices should be done, these processes are in conjunction with your already existing well-being measures:
Regarding Client Services:
Email clients to ask that they inform you if anyone in the home is sick or has potential exposure (and trust your company will do the same before entering the home) and to share new protocol
For extra protection, call the family prior to the appointment to confirm again that no one is sick or has been exposed to an illness
Encourage, if possible, for appointments to take place outside
Encourage only immediate family members to be present
Encourage communication if members of the household are in the at-risk group so even more precaution could be offered
Complete consent forms and payment online (if this is impossible, have check written and use your own pen for consent form- doctors are encouraged to leave this in the sun if possible)
Possibly obtain DOPverbal permission and initial your paperwork or iPad yourself. Avoid having pet owners touch pens or iPad.
Ask the family for a credit card to secure payment prior to the appointment
Doctors have masks, shoe covers, and gloves to wear while in the home
Take minimal supplies into the appointment.
If it’s safe to do so, leave your keys in your vehicle along with your purse and phone.
If you need your phone for payment, carry small plastic bags and have use the bag to cover the owners credit card to swipe on your phone.
Sign for them if appropriate for the credit card payment.
Doctors should wash hands, using hand sanitizer, and other sanitizing products frequently
Have doctors switch to hard-sided boxes for supplies (vs the normal doctor’s bags) that will be disinfected between visits
Doctors should not make physical contact with anyone other than the pet at the appointment
Step outside after sedating the pet, checking on the family and pet often
Utilize telemedicine and tele-health when at all possible for QOL assessments and hospice rechecks
If making paw prints, have everything ready to go before you go into the appointment (pre-pad circles for the paw prints)
Avoid hugging and handshakes.
Cremation staff will stay out of the home and ask families to help transport the pet to the car (no blankets, toys, etc. at this time)
Cremation staff should wear gloves when touching pet and disinfect stretcher/removal apparatus between homes
Cremation staff can bring cremated pets back home but minimize any contact with family
Do not re-use blankets between pets even if they look “clean” to avoid contamination from house to house and in your vehicle
Consider wearing gloves during the appointment.
Wear gloves when placing pets in bag for aftercare, as pet owners are often kissing and sadly crying quite a bit on their beloved pets
Responsible Business Practices:
Prioritize your health and your staff's health
Minimize or prevent contact between the staff so one person's exposure doesn't eliminate all staff at once
Check with your business insurance provider to know what your business interruption coverage might be if possible, begin saving/creating a fund to help offset payroll/sick leave expenses
Follow the SBA for updates on available small business emergency loans: https://www.sba.gov/page/guidance-businesses-employers-plan-respond-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Contact any lenders to see if interest-only payments will be available for the short-term
Work with other home providers in the area to communicate so you know who is available for families and who might be closed or unable to work
The AVMA is updating frequently regarding the pending families first coronavirus response act
Written by: Dr. Beth Marchitelli
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