October 21st 2020

Supporting Veterinary Professionals and Clients During COVID-19

At the VCMS we are in regular contact with both clients and practitioners in regard to processes, how practices operate and receive feedback as to trends in concerns. One of several concerns that is being highlighted to the VCMS is in relation to the new COVID measures and how consultations with practices have changed. In today’s blog we offer an overview of the situation and our insights.

Following on from changes suggested and guided by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, many animal owners may have noticed that, due to the coronavirus, there has been a change in how practices consult. 

Previously pet owners were allowed to remain in the consultation room during the consult, now the pet is taken away from the owner and taken into the consultation room. Naturally, for both practitioner and client this can cause a higher level of both uncertainty and anxiety. With such additional pressure misunderstanding can also occur. 

Understandably, this new way of working can cause stress both for the pet owner and the practitioner. As a pet owner you are accustomed to being in the consultation room, having the opportunity to ask questions and to offer support to your pet. 

As a vet, likewise, you are able to interact with your client, to inform them of what is going on and to offer support. Usually conversation would happen throughout the consult and a natural dialogue would be established between both parties. With the change of situation and the potential for misunderstanding high, we offer key suggestions for both animal owner and vet to ensure that this new way of working offers a healthy and open dialogue whilst easing stress.

Pet Owner

  • It is important to remember that your vet has the best interests of your pet at heart. As a professional, they are bound by a duty of care to provide the very best service possible. Whilst the method of delivery a diagnosis has changed, at the heart of the matter the vet’s professionalism has not. It may be uncomfortable to not be present during the consult but your vet remains committed to ensuring the wellbeing and health of your pet. 
  • Upon the vet delivering their findings, try to take notes and ask subsequent questions so that you are clear in what is being said and on the advice that the vet provides. 
  • This is a new situation for the vet as well. They are professionals and are working hard to provide excellent care in difficult circumstances. It may be useful to practice understanding and empathy towards them and work towards a common goal of ensuring the wellbeing of your pet. 

Veterinary professional

  • Write down the key points you wish to discuss with the client once you have inspected the animal and try to condense the information into understandable points. 
  • Under this new way of working it may be slightly overwhelming to the client to receive a lot of information at once so be clear in your communication and go through the diagnosis and repercussions, if they exist, slowly and offer the chance for the owner to ask questions. 
  • This is a new experience for the pet owner and empathy, more than ever, is important. Be considerate as to the additional pressure and stress that this may place on the owner.
  • You may have to deliver your findings in a more public space than usual, and discretion is of the utmost importance. 

The VCMS has put together a guide for animal owners in these difficult times. Read more about what options exist for animal owners needing medicine for their pets here: Animal Medicines, Online or From My Vet…What Are My Options As An Animal Owner?

The VCMS is committed to assisting both the public and the veterinary profession in these difficult times. For more information on our services and how we are here to impartially assist, contact our team on 0345 040 5834 or via enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk.

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