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House Call Safety COVID-19

Thursday, 09 April 2020 19:51

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

Download a PDF copy of these Safety Tips