Evaluation Tool for essential vs non-essential veterinary procedures.
As responsible citizens and business owners, it is crucial to fulfill our social obligations to limit the spread of COIVD-19 and stress on the health care system. We can also have an impact on access to PPEs. Focusing on essential veterinary services will go a long way in supporting this objective. We need to do our part.
To help members determine what is non-essential, the MVMA has developed an Evaluation Tool to guide clinics through an evaluation of treatment. Members can also refer to the CVMA’s Guidelines for Elective Services and Social Distancing as well as this Guideline/Examples of Essential vs Non-Essential Procedures(developed from the British Veterinary Association).
Members are reminded that guidelines are just that – guidelines. Members should use their professional judgement in assessing if a case is essential and requires treatment. The goal of reducing services is to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 and reduce the use of PPEs. However, members must also keep in mind the responsibility for animal health, welfare and safe food production. These decisions will often come down to your judgement and opinion based on the factors presented. Evaluate the level of risk of COVID exposure to you, your staff and the public and what is the impact of PPE usage versus the health and welfare of the animal – and work from there.
Update: Provision of Veterinary Services
With the Province of Manitoba’s decision to start phase one of “reopening” the province, the MVMA Council shares the following with members to guide them in deciding what veterinary services to provide. This reopening does not mean clinics should return to “business as usual” – members should continue to be vigilant about ensuring their clinic is a safe place for staff and clients.
The primary consideration when determining what veterinary services to provide should be safeguarding the health of staff, clients and yourself. Another factor is the use of PPE that is in short supply.
- Government physical (social) distancing methods must be implemented at veterinary clinics.
- Continue to utilize tactics that will support physical distancing, such as curbside pick-up/ delivery (of products and pets) and locked-door (no walk-ins) policies.
- Prioritize urgent and essential care.
- Continue to use telemedicine when appropriate. (See more information on the MVMA COVID page under “The MVMA’s VCPR & Telemedicine.”)
- Limit surgeries to urgent and essential surgeries. For elective surgeries, use professional judgement to determine if the surgery can wait until PPE availability is secure.
- Clinics can consider beginning to see non-essential medical appointments such as vaccines, annual exams, etc. Consider reducing appointment volume to support fewer interactions between staff and clients (even with curbside service). Clinics need to continue to follow physical distancing methods.
- Clients should be screened before attending a veterinary clinic.
- Staff who are symptomatic or who have symptomatic family members should stay home.
- See more tips on the MVMA COVID page under “Helpful Tips to Minimize Disease Spread in a Veterinary Setting”)
Provincial Guidelines for Therapeutic and Health Care Businesses
Below are the Provincial Guidelines for Therapeutic and Health Care Businesses. It would be ideal if veterinary clinics implemented these strategies in their clinics when applicable. It would show that the veterinary community is taking its role in the prevention of COVID transmission very seriously.
From the Province of Manitoba:
Effective May 4, and at the further direction of their respective regulatory bodies, regulated health professionals, such as dentists, dental hygienists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists and podiatrists, will no longer be limited to providing urgent and emergent care. In addition, individuals who provide therapeutic massage and acupuncture services may resume providing those services.
Clients must maintain a distance of at least two metres, except when receiving service or for brief exchanges. All businesses will be required to limit occupancy to 50 percent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower. These requirements will be enforceable under public health orders.
- Staff, patients or people attending with patients must use the self-screening tool before booking an appointment. https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/
- Employees must stay home when ill with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Staff are given information about physical distancing.
- Entry into the business, including lines, are regulated to prevent congestion.
- Businesses must post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols, along with floor markings where service is provided or lines form.
- Businesses must maintain a single point of entry.
- Patients and people who may attend with patients are screened by telephone before an appointment is booked and are not given an appointment if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- People identified as symptomatic should be instructed to call Health Links – Info Santé.
- Waiting room management strategies must be in place. Strategies should include waiting in car if possible, and physical distancing for those in waiting room. No more than 10 people may gather in common areas.
- Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance/exit for patient and staff use.
- Patients and people attending with patients must sanitize hands upon entry to facility.
- Work/service areas are sanitized after each patient.
- Washrooms have frequent sanitization and a regime for business sanitization is in place.
- Magazine racks and toys are removed and play areas in waiting rooms are closed.
- Patients may wear masks when receiving services, where possible.
- Cashless or no-contact payment should be used to the greatest extent possible.