MAINTAINING EXCELLENT CARE AT DUVALL VETERINARY HOSPITAL AMID THE COVID-19 CRISIS
COVID-19, and all the changes it has brought to our personal lives, social lives, professional lives, and our society, have been overwhelming. One cannot open a newspaper, scan social media sites, or walk into a store without a blunt reminder that life in America has changed.
HOSPITAL & INDUSTRY UPDATES
Life at Duvall Veterinary Hospital has changed as well, and we would like to share some details about these changes and what they mean for you, our present and future clients. Also, we want to share two especially important messages for all pet owners, whether in the Pacific Northwest or elsewhere, which we will include at the bottom of this letter.
The most obvious changes have been the logistics of curbside care, a reduction in face-to-face time with our doctors at your visit, and longer wait times. Our building cannot facilitate the degree of social distancing our governor and the health department require. As a result, we must do the best that we can with what we have and continue with our current plan. While this is not ideal, we do understand it is necessary from a public health standpoint. To accommodate these changes to the best of our ability, we have added phone lines, implemented telemedicine options, and are actively hiring to grow our team and keep things moving as efficiently possible.
The less obvious change, and the aspect that we want to address with this statement, is that since mid-April, we have been so busy that our schedule fills so quickly that we have at times been unable to provide the same level of on-demand care our clients have come to expect from us.
Historically, one could call us with a concern, and our schedule was structured such that we could arrange a visit within 24 hours, if not within 4 hours. In seasons past, we have been able to accommodate new clients by making an appointment within a day or two. This was not made possible because we had nothing to do, but because we intentionally built our schedule around being conveniently accessible for our clients and patients.
When COVID-19 emerged, and the governor of Washington instituted the Shelter in Place order, there were restrictions placed on veterinary hospitals. Appointment and medical service availability at all hospitals and clinics in the state was reduced. As March led to April and April to May, some clinics in the area maintained themselves at reduced availability. DVH remained open and served our community’s emergency and urgent care needs during our regular hours, 6 days a week, utilizing our curbside protocols to keep everyone as safe and socially distanced as possible.
Consequently, we have been inundated with new client and patient requests in addition to keeping up with our long-term, loyal clients who became backlogged as their routine preventive care was postponed. We are aware that a large segment of our new client requests come from individuals with genuine need. And, while we loathe turning even one patient away, time is a limited resource. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs for as many patients as possible, day in and day out.
TWO IMPORTANT MESSAGES
- First, to our amazing clients, we appreciate your loyalty to us over the years. We are grateful for your trust and for your business. During this time of limited capacity, our priority is being as available to you as we can be. We kindly ask that you call for appointments sooner rather than later, before an issue becomes too serious or emergent.
- Second, to the reader who does not have a relationship with a full-service veterinary facility, we recommend you schedule an appointment with a veterinarian today at their earliest availability, whenever that may be. This will establish a relationship between you and your veterinarian, as well as between your pet and your veterinarian. Establish this veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian in your community today so that one day in the future, in your time of need, you’ll have a clinic that knows you, knows your pet, and can respond to your need with a timely, loyal response.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
In conclusion, we ask that you continue to be patient with the curbside process at DVH during your visits. Our team is working hard to facilitate the smoothest visit possible for you and your pet. Please understand that while our schedule may not be as flexible for you as it has been in the past, our genuine hope is that this is only a temporary necessity as we all navigate this unforeseen experience together. However, we have welcomed a new full-time doctor to our practice, which has increased the number of appointments we can accommodate in a day. We are managing through the pandemic to the best of our ability while also refusing to compromise in our mission of providing the highest quality veterinary care manageable and peace of mind through preventative medicine, in a kind, compassionate, and comprehensive way for you and your pet.
Together, with patience, kindness, and compassion, we will make our way through these unprecedented times.
Michelle Gengler, DVM and the Team at Duvall Veterinary Hospital