The human-animal bond is becoming stronger every year. Many of us consider our pets to be members of the family. So, think about how nerve-racking it is for a pet owner to leave that member of the family at your hospital. It’s a big deal, and it’s your job to not only take the absolute best care of hospitalized pets but also to ensure that your clients have peace of mind while their pets are in your care.

Setting hospitalization standards in your veterinary practice

Here are some examples of hospitalization standards that you should set in your practice:

  • Care of the pet — What is the level of care a pet receives while being hospitalized in your practice? Do you have a specific doctor and nurse assigned to the patient? Consider the following “Animal Bill of Rights”:
    • Right to have a clean cage, food, and water
    • Right to have affection
    • Right to preventive care
    • Right to an accurate diagnosis
  • Evaluation of the pet — Does the specific doctor and/or nurse assigned to the patient evaluate him or her each hour?
  • Medications and chart updates — Does the specific doctor and/or nurse assigned to the patient update the medical record with each evaluation and administration of medication?
  • Visitation and communication — Do you provide visitation hours and an educational handout for the pet’s owners so they know what to expect when their pet is hospitalized in your practice? Below is an example template of an informational handout for clients whose animals are being hospitalized at your practice. Download the PDF of the template here.

With surgical standards in place, your patients will receive consistent and high-quality care, your clients will feel at ease and confident that their pets are in good hands, and your team members will have a thorough understanding of what’s expected of them and when.

Setting therapeutic standards in your veterinary practice

Here are some examples of therapeutic standards that you should set in your hospital:

  • Medications and injections — Do you have standard protocols for the types of medications and injectables used in your practice?
  • Conversion charts and dosage rates — Do you have conversion charts and dosage rates so it’s easy to delegate the treatment and medical tasks to your nursing team? Consider implementing Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs app on your practice’s mobile devices so doctors can trust the team to calculate drug dosages accurately and efficiently.
  • Charts for fluid flow rates — Do you have standard protocols for fluid flow rates?
  • Catheter maintenance — How often should a catheter be cleaned or replaced?

Think about how much simpler life could be for everyone on your team if there weren’t so many choices… If you had protocols in place that indicated “how things are done here” so the team members could perform those tasks and feel confident while doing so. With these therapeutic standards in place, nurses will be able to anticipate the needs of doctors without being told, which will help them to feel empowered in their positions. And, doctors won’t have to hand-hold, and will feel more confident in the abilities of their support team.

Everyone wins when you set surgical and therapeutic standards in your veterinary practice.

Learn more about setting standards in your animal hospital by checking out my Relationship Centered Practice Academy (RCPA). The most comprehensive veterinary practice management online course available, the RCPA provides an easy-to-follow framework and many invaluable tools that will help you transform your practice from “just getting by” to thriving. (Bonus: You’ll also see a transformation in your career and job satisfaction, going from stressed out and burned out to loving veterinary medicine again.)