Tips for Communicating With Clients in Emergency Situations

October 24, 2018

Danielle Provost, CVT, VTS (ECC), shares tips for talking to patients in emergency situations and helping them navigate the issue.

Danielle Provost, CVT, VTS (ECC), shares tips for talking to patients in emergency situations and helping them navigate the issue.

Danielle Provost, CVT, VTS (ECC): Talking to clients in an emergency situation can be quite challenging, so some of the things that you should and shouldn’t say vary on your level of experience. Usually, the focus will be trying to get the owners redirected on what’s happening now, and the reason they called today. When clients call and they’re in a panic, sometimes they will have a tendency to want to talk about the previous 7 years of this pet’s life, and so what we need to do is redirect them and understand the symptoms that they’re calling about today.

Some of the things that we’ll do is kind of listen for words or terms that are concerning rather than trying to create a diagnosis over the phone. For example, if an owner says their pet is weak or dizzy or has collapsed, any one of those things is concerning and they should bring their pet in. Rather than me trying to diagnose that these symptoms altogether sound like this patient may have, say, hemoabdomen or something like that, I would rather say each individual symptom is concerning enough for you to bring them in.

I would caution people to not diagnose over the phone. I would also caution them to not recommend any medical treatment over the phone. So, that includes any over-the-counter medications, and I’d also caution against telling them to induce vomiting at home. That could be quite dangerous and really should be observed by a medical professional.