4 tips for an effective discharge
When veterinary clients don't follow your instructions, their pets suffer. Use these steps to lock in the care pets need.
Jun 01, 2012
Consider these suggestions to shrink the communication void between the initial visit and patient discharge:
1. Offer written treatment or discharge instructions. With the advent of technology, creating a treatment plan or discharge instructions for the patient is easier than ever. Using canned Word documents allows you to quickly customize and print pet care plans for the owner. Be sure the document has all pertinent information the client may need to offer the appropriate home care that you recommend. Suggestions include:
3. Keep a copy of the treatment or discharge instructions for your records. Put a copy of the instructions in the patient file. If the owner calls with a question specific to the plan, it's helpful as a reference. Also, in the event that legal action occurs, you can provide this document as part of the patient medical record.
4. Perform follow-up phone calls for critical care or surgery patients. Receptionists and technicians can use follow-up phone calls to make sure the patient's doing well and receiving medications properly and to lock in recheck appointments as needed. Then record these calls in the patient file. With the advances in technology, some clinics offer email addresses to encourage client communication. Just be sure to document all communication between your clinic and the client. This provides important documentation in the case of a lawsuit or in situations where the case doesn't go well and the client complains.
While these extra steps won't guarantee the owner will comply, taking a few extra minutes and making the visit a positive experience may help encourage greater client compliance and better patient care at home.
Rachael Simmons is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and head receptionist at Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Spokane, Wash.