Consulting rooms

image of Consulting rooms
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The consulting area is the main area of contact of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses with clients and their pets. It is where small animal first opinion veterinary surgeons usually spend 4 or 5 hours a day and should be an area where vets, nurses and clients can feel comfortable and relaxed. This chapters covers consulting room design, animal handling, biosecurity in the consulting room and waste disposal.

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6.1 The consulting room should be a comfortable relaxed environment for clients, vets and pets.
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6.2 Cats will be more relaxed on a non-slip table with minimal restraint.
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6.3 Reference materials can be kept to hand in an adjoining dispensary.
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6.4 The door between the consulting room and dispensary has been concealed within the wall for a neater look.
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6.5 A large consulting room showing storage, computer wiring through the benchtop, and a hands-free tap.
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6.6 Clear signs on consulting room doors help reduce interruptions from clients’ mobile phones during consultations.
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6.7 This examination room has a ceiling-mounted examination light, blackout blind and the computer keyboard mounted under the wall cabinetry to keep the worktop clear. As the veterinary surgeon currently needs to turn their back to the client whilst inputting data, a worktop extension is planned to the left so that the screen and keyboard can be mounted at right angles to its current position.
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6.8 A dedicated nurse consulting room is a useful addition to the practice.
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6.9 A small hand basin in the consulting room; note the hands-free taps.
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6.10 Examination tables: A fold-down consulting table can be useful in a small consulting room and can be folded up when out of use. A ‘lifting table’, adjustable to a range of heights. This stainless steel table is electrically height-adjustable and easy to clean. The rubber mat is held in place by raised corners.
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6.11 Angled strips can be attached to each end of a rubber mat to hold it in place on the examination table, allowing easy removal for cleaning. Note the protective strip on the wall to reduce damage to paintwork and facilitate cleaning.
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6.12 In this consulting room chairs are available for veterinary staff and/or clients. A large consulting room with space for seating for clients and staff.
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6.13 Lockable cupboards. A wall-mounted refrigerated vaccine dispenser is useful to keep vaccines at the correct temperature in the consulting room.
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6.14 Small scales suitable for weighing cats. A set of digital scales for small pets (and medications or food) can be hung on the wall when out of use.
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6.15 Thermometers. Digital rectal thermometer and sleeve. Use of an aural thermometer in a cat. (b, photograph by J. Bosley; © Quantock Veterinary Hospital)
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6.16 This consulting room has plenty of storage space, a wall-mounted auriscope/ophthalmoscope, an X-ray viewer and small scales.
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6.17 The Schiøtz tonometer may look more awkward to use, but is still useful for measuring intraocular pressure where an electronic tonometer is not available. Electronic tonometers such as the Tonovet (seen here) or Tonopen are easy to use and accurate. A tonometer is a Practice Standards requirement for veterinary hospitals.
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6.18 A small emergency oxygen cylinder with reducing valve can be useful at small branch surgeries.
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6.19 A4 leaflet racks are available. Alternatively, information can be printed on demand, but must be of professional quality. Pigeonhole units can be used for smaller or folded leaflets.
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6.20 An illuminated viewer or means to display digital images is useful for radiographs. Air conditioning will make the consulting room more comfortable for people and animals.
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6.21 The position of the computer workstation allows the clinician to input notes and data without turning his/her back to the client. Note the vaccine fridge on the wall.
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6.22 Electrical trunking keeps surface wiring to a minimum.
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6.23 Animal handling equipment. Muzzle rack. Crush cages for feral or ‘difficult’ cats. Cat and dog catchers. Towels are useful for restraining birds.
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6.24 Thorough hand-washing is an important part of biosecurity in the consulting room.
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6.25 Purpose-built auriscope head cleaning units, containing detergent and disinfectant, are handy in consulting rooms. Regular dismantling and thorough cleaning of the ‘scrubber’ unit is necessary to prevent build-up of debris.
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6.26 Ideally the whole syringe and needle should be placed immediately after use into the correct sharps container.
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