Tiny makeovers to Fear Free your exam rooms

January 2, 2018

The dvm360 editors combed through our greatest Fear Free tips to bring the best of the exam-room-focused interior design details to you.

Implementing Fear Free in your hospital's design doesn't need to be a complete remodel to ease patient stress. You can achieve your goal with a few simple changes to your exam rooms with a relatively small budget and a few days' time.

We'll start with the easier items and move to the more challenging ones as we go. Fully on board with Fear Free and want to get certified? Click here.

Stock your exam room for lower stress

The best part of these tips is they're really less about floor plans and materials and more about a little thinking about what items to include in the exam rooms. Though this doodle focuses on the exam room, Fetch dvm360 conference educator Debbie Martin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, LVT, VTS (behavior), has Fear Free tips for every member of your team and just about every room of your hospital. In the exam room, try:

> Stocking the treat jar

> Giving pets access to water

> Providing a litter box for feline patients

> Giving patients space (and time) to explore the room

> Using gentle control and allowing the pet to stay in the exam room as much as possible.

Click here for the full doodle.

Change your wall (and scrub) colors

Veterinary architect Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, has created a color palette to help soothe pets. Using information about vision and color preferences in dogs and cats, Lewis and other Fear Free folks developed this color palette to be visually comfortable and positively perceived. Variations on these hues can be used to allow for changes in hospital style, but generally the colors used should employ hues in the soft yellow to violet range, avoiding oranges and reds.

Click here for more.


Build different seating

Photo credit: Tim Murphy, Foto Imagery

Fear Free advocate Vicki Petsche, DVM, worked with a company that makes furniture for pets to create a nontraditional place for physical exams. Want to change up your exam routine? Try bringing the exam to the patient's level:

"I found a company that makes furniture for dogs to custom-make ottomans for our exam rooms. I had them use the material they said was most durable and cover them up with crib sheets that change with every patient. The dog hops up on the ottoman, with the pet owner on one side and myself on the other. The pet owner can see what I'm seeing, and they're helping me hold or cuddle. Pets just think they're up on the couch at home and being held."

Click here for more about Dr. Petsche's totally Fear Free'd practice.

DIY: Build a better cat trap

Photo courtesy of Dr. Apryl Steele

If you build it, cats will come. Use this wooden bench solution, created by Apryl Steele, DVM, for your feline exam room-and never use the “chase and net” technique for catching cats again.

Click here for step-by-step instructions-with photos!