How to transform that out of use exam room into a comfort room

April 26, 2016
Kyle Palmer, CVT
Kyle Palmer, CVT

Long-time dvm360 magazine and Firstline contributor Kyle Palmer, CVT, is hospital manager for VCA Salem in Salem, Oregon, as well as a practice management consultant for a number of other hospitals.

The goal: To create a place where families could have the quiet and privacy needed to say goodbye, a place where a patient can relax and be open to the benefits of alternative treatment or a place where a client can wait while the pet undergoes a critical procedure.

A remuddled remodel left one remote exam room out of the hospital loop until this practice had the bright idea to create a client-focused comfort room. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Palmer, CVT.)Kyle Palmer, CVT, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a practice manager at Silver Creek Animal Clinic in Silverton, Oregon, shares how his practice transformed a remote “last resort” exam room to a resort-like comfort room that connects with clients.

1. We tabled the table.

We decommissioned the old surgery table that had doubled as an exam surface in the room and replaced it with a wall-mounted fold-up table. This way we can still use this room as a regular exam room when needed, but we can put the table “out of sight” when it isn't needed.

2. We chaired the seating issues.

We replaced our regular exam room chairs with two “pleather” homey chairs, added an end table with a lamp and selection of books on coping with loss and put in an attractive floor lamp.

3. We opted for a rugged rug.

We were concerned about keeping an area rug clean, and it took some negotiating. We ended up choosing one we can easily roll up when we need the room for procedures that might be messy.

4. We put pets into our décor.

We chose soft tones for wall colors, removed the client-education related wall hangings and went with tastefully framed pictures of dogs, cats and horses.

Overnight, the room went from an out-of-the-way imposition to a room that clients request regularly. When we do euthanasias in the practice, they always take place in this room. We also use this room for acupuncture treatments and any service or procedure that requires this specific atmosphere. It's been wildly successful.