COVID 19 Update – September  2020

Dear Clients,
It has been 5 months since a public health emergency was declared in British Columbia and it has been as long since we have seen or spoken to you without our faces masked.
Bar none, every single person reading this email has been affected by the pandemic; personally, medically, financially or mentally. The pandemic has taken a toll and we have all had to adjust and do life a little differently. Many of us have felt the frustration and impatience from wanting life to return to ‘normal’. Professionally, I look forward to not having to wear and speak behind a mask 8 hours a day, to have a new pet owner in the room to show them how to handle and socialize their new pet and to give a client a hug after they have had to say goodbye to their pet. Personally, I look forward to my children being able to learn again in class amongst their peers. The only ones whom I can say are enjoying the changes to daily life is my dog who loves the extra company at home and my cat who can now yowl and demand food throughout the entire day as someone always seems to be in the kitchen to comply.
We, at Amherst, wanted to take the opportunity to reach out, to share with you our journey in this pandemic so far and how we see our practice continuing to function for the foreseeable future:
In early March we started following reports about increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the Lower Mainland and by March 17 a public health emergency was declared in BC. People were asked to work from home, to socially distance outside of the people you lived with and many business sectors were asked to close. Although veterinary hospitals were not declared an essential service until March 26, Amherst remained open because we believed that our role in continuing to provide health care to our pets was necessary. For those first few weeks, staff came to work because we believed in the value of what we do despite struggling with our personal fears of coming to work and becoming infected with COVID-19 or bringing it home to our families.
To maximize safety for our clients and staff and to do our part in bending the curve of the pandemic we decreased the congestion of people within the hospital by reducing the number of veterinarians per day from 5 to 3, asked our clients to stay outside while the pet was examined and increased the length of the appointments to decrease client overlap. During phase 1 and into the early parts of phase 2 our veterinary association gave guidelines to veterinary hospitals to suspend all appointments and surgeries unless they were life threatening or urgent issues.
In June we were able to once again schedule wellness exams, vaccine appointments and preventive surgeries such as spays, neuters and dental cleanings. Many have asked when we will allow clients to come into the clinic again for appointments. Unfortunately we will not be making any changes to this policy until we see what the fall and winter bring in terms of COVID-19 numbers in the Lower Mainland. We are still at reduced staffing and reduced appointment capacity and to maximize our ability to safely help the pets and to keep our staff safe, we need to continue to decrease the flow of traffic in and out of the hospital.
We want to help your pet and we do not want to have to turn sick pets away. Along with seeing sick pets we are also working through a backlog of 3 months of pets who are delayed with their preventive health care and vaccines. Due to all these reasons we are finding that we are at capacity on a daily basis. When we turn your pets away, it is not because we do not want to help you. We do. We are in this field because of our passion for the well being of animals but we also want to be able to care for your pets to the best of our abilities. If our staff are overwhelmed with medical cases and stretched to the limit, you are not getting the best quality care that your pet deserves. Our technicians and assistants juggle between x rays, blood collection, anesthetics and nursing care throughout the day and our receptionists are tireless in answering the phones and attending to your requests for medication refills, appointments, general questions. Our vets routinely work through their lunch hours and stay late to squeeze in the extra urgent case or return that phone call. We too all balance this workload with homeschooling our children, caring for our elderly, having to buy groceries and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Until Dr. Bonnie Henry says it is safe to do so, it will not be business as usual. We continue to monitor the situation in BC and will make adjustments to our protocols based on science and recommendations from our veterinary association and our provincial health officer.
As we navigate our way through this pandemic we ask for our clients to please help do your part to ensure best access for all our pet patients:
1. Please be patient with the front staff and when calling into the clinic. Our phone lines are very busy and we are trying to help you as efficiently as we can.
2. We want to help your pet and we are trying to triage cases as best we can but most days we find ourselves at capacity shortly after the start of the day. If we can not help your pet as urgently as it needs, then we will direct you on how to receive that care.
3. Our veterinarians are busy, we prioritize our sick cases and our scheduled appointments. We will always call a client with lab results. If you have a question to discuss that is not pertaining to a recent visit, we may not be able to get back to you for a few days as our priority it to our current sick pets.
4. If you have a sick pet, please do not wait until they are really sick to book an appointment as we may not be able to see you as urgently as your pet needs.
5. We have never and continue to not charge for cancelled our missed appointments but know that your missed appointment meant that some other sick pet could not be seen and had to be directed elsewhere causing increased stress for a fellow pet owner and pet. Please call us to cancel as early as possible if you no longer need your appointment.
6. Kindness does go a long way.
This is uncharted territory for all of us. Amherst Veterinary Hospital has been serving the Vancouver community for over 33 years and we want to get through this pandemic along side you, our community.
We are so proud of our staff and thankful to them for their tireless efforts and compassion. Thank you also to all of our clients that have provided us with words of encouragement, we wish you continued health.
Dr. Loretta Yuen and the Amherst management team

COVID 19 Update  July 3rd 2020

Dear Clients,

We continue to offer curbside service, following the recommended social distancing practices outlined by the government.

We would like to remind you that while we are doing our best to ensure an efficient experience, some of our services like prescription refill requests may take longer than usual due to the high volume of phone calls. Please be patient with our staff and remember that we will call you when your prescription is ready to pick up. This might take 24 hours.

Thank you,

The Amherst Team

COVID 19 Update  June 4th 2020

To our valued clients,

The staff at Amherst Veterinary Hospital hopes that you are healthy and keeping safe.

As an essential business, we have remained open throughout the last two months. We have implemented many changes to limit the amount of exposure to our staff and clients. We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times. Our top priority continues to be the maintenance of the health and safety of our staff, clients and patients.

As BC’s Phase 2 Restart Plan begins we thought it would be a good time to update you on these protocols. Below is a list of some of those enhanced precautions;

  1. When you phone to book your appointment you will be asked a set of questions to help screen for potential sickness.
  2. Please notify the reception team when you are at the parking lot for your appointment. THE FRONT DOORS ARE LOCKED TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE INSIDE. CALL US OR WAVE AT US AT THE FRONT DOOR. There will be no use of the waiting area. This is to allow for social distancing and keep the amount of people in the clinic to a minimum.
  3. Please remove your pet’s accessories before your appointment
  4. Ensure your carrier has been cleaned and that there is no bedding or accessories inside
  5. A team member will meet you at the front door to switch leashes with you.
  6. To facilitate contactless payment, we are taking payment information over the phone. We are not accepting cash payments.
  7. We have implemented enhanced disinfection procedures of all surfaces between patients.
  8. All staff members are required to wear a mask while at work.
  9. Enhanced nightly disinfection of high touch points have been implemented
  10. Longer times in between patients to prepare and complete all appointment tasks and duties in the safest and most comprehensive manner.
  11. There will be no “walk-in” appointments at this time.
  12. Please maintain social distancing if you are waiting at the front door
  13. Our phone lines are extremely busy right now. Please be patient as we are dealing with this exceptional call volume as best as we can. Please phone once and wait for your return phone call from a member of our staff. We will phone you when food and medication is ready; there is no need to phone us to inquire if it has arrived.
  14. We continue to offer food delivery every week if requested
  15. We will be following government guidelines with regards to a potential sick employee. A staff member that is showing any signs of feeling unwell will not be permitted to work. This could mean potential self isolation for 10 days which would disrupt our staffing levels. Our hours and days of operation may be affected in these types of circumstances. We appreciate your understanding if we need to reschedule your appointment.
  16. Please continue to check our website at www.amherstvethospital.com or our social media accounts for continued updates.

We wish to thank you again for your patience at this time. It is very important to us that we maintain our relationships with you all and we are doing everything we can to be available for your most cherished companions.

Our staff has been amazing in these last two months and we are very proud of them. Our reception team is happy to answer any questions you may have. To make an appointment, please call our office at 604 221 7771.

Sincerely,
the Amherst Team

Updated COVID-19 Blogs – April 5th, 2020

If you have questions about the latest updates surrounding COVID 19 and your pet please check out our two new blogs written by our very own Dr. Loretta Yuen on this website under blogs. One of them is a very informative blog about socializing your puppy in these strange times.

Updated COVID-19 Operating Procedures – April 1st, 2020

Dear Clients,

We would like to let you know that we are open and accepting most types of appointments at this time.

As parasite season has begun please don’t hesitate to phone us for advice on which parasite product will best suit your pet.

Currently we are open on Sundays 9am – 5pm. These conditions may change week to week so please consult this website for regular updates.

Given that this is a rapidly changing situation, we will keep you updated with any changes in our practice protocols for you and your pet. Thank you for your understanding.

The Amherst Management Team

Updated COVID-19 Operating Procedures – March 26th, 2020

Dear Clients,

We are offering our clients the option of having their food and medication delivered to their homes. We would like to offer this option to maximise the ability to social distance and eliminate contact where possible.

This is a free service to our clients in this current climate. If overwhelmed by demand we will prioritise those who need the service the most. We aim to provide this service two days per week. Please phone us at 604 221 7771 if you would like to order food or medication or if you have any questions.

The Amherst Management Team

Updated COVID-19 Operating Procedures – March 24th, 2020

Dear Clients,

We are open.

Please be aware of our new policies when you arrive for your appointment

•  Notify the reception when you are at the parking lot for your appointment. THE FRONT DOORS ARE LOCKED TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE INSIDE. CALL US OR WAVE AT US AT THE FRONT DOOR.

•  Please remove pet’s accessories before your appointment

•  Ensure your carrier has been cleaned and that there is no bedding inside

•  A team member will meet you at the front door to switch leashes with you. To follow social distancing, we are taking payment information over the phone. We are not accepting cash payments

•  Please maintain social distancing if you are waiting at the front door

•  Our phone lines are extremely busy right now. Please be patient as we are dealing with this exceptional call volume as best as we can. Please phone once and wait for your return phone call from a member of our staff. We will phone you when food and medication is ready, there is no need to phone us to inquire if it has arrived.

•  Food and medication purchased between March 15th 2020 to April 7th 2020 can not be returned and is final sale for hygiene purchases

Thank you for your understanding,

The Amherst Management Team

Update COVID-19 Operating Procedures – March 20th, 2020

We want to assure you that we continue to make every effort to minimize risks to our staff and clients by social distancing as much as we can.

We also continue to monitor that we remain fully capable of providing care to the best of our ability and to our usual standards. If public health officials deem that a lock down is necessary, we may need to shift to tele-medicine (phone consults) and dispensing only. We are preparing in case it comes to that.

Right now (March 20, 2020) we are open, but we are limiting in-clinic services to urgent cases only.

Our staff care about your animals and they are doing their best to protect themselves while providing the best care that they can for your pet. We cannot commend our staff enough for voluntarily putting themselves on the front line inspite of the risks.

We appreciate our clients and their patience and understanding at this difficult time.

For those clients who have been waiting, our food order has now arrived.

Thank you,

The Amherst Management Team

COVID-19 Operating Procedures – March 17, 2020

The health and safety of our staff and clients is our highest priority at Amherst Veterinary Hospital. It is always at the forefront of our business and is at the core of our industry. We are closely monitoring the developing situation with the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Lower Mainland and following the government guidelines.

We would ask that if any of the following apply to you please phone us at 604 221 7771 to discuss scheduling and alternative options. Please do not come into the clinic if you have:

  • Traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days
  • Tested positive for COVID-19
  • Been in contact with someone that may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Have cold or flu like symptoms

We are committed to ensuring a safe, clean and properly sanitized environment for our clients and staff using medical grade cleaners and sanitation products to ensure the highest standards are maintained. In addition, we new protocols:

NEW PROTOCOLS – EFFECTIVE MARCH 17, 2020

Upon arrival at Amherst, please practice the following guidelines to help us slow the spread of COVID-19

The front door at Amherst will be locked. Please read the following guidelines carefully;

  • Please WAIT IN YOUR CAR or OUTSIDE when appropriate and CALL RECEPTION to inform us that you have arrived for your appointment. We will inform you when to come in to limit the number of people in the waiting area.
  • We request that only ONE PERSON brings in your pet for the appointment. ONE COMMUNICATOR PER FAMILY.
  • Please USE HAND SANITIZERS provided when you walk in and BEFORE touching any products.
  • We might advise you to go for a walk or return to your car while waiting for prescriptions or to be billed out after your appointment.
  • If you do have to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough/sneeze into your arm. Dispose of the tissue immediately in a closed container.
  • Wash your hands (with soap and for at least 20 seconds) after coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

These are challenging times and we appreciate your cooperation. We will do our utmost to service your needs during this time and will make decisions based on the ever changing climate and what is best for your pet.

Thank you,

The Amherst Management Team

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