Reception areas and exam rooms get all the glory in veterinary practice design, but the treatment area is the real key to caring for your patients. Here's how to design an efficient space for you and your team.
Your patients need your treatment area to run smoothly and effectively. So does your team. So how can you keep everyone happy and make sure you build a revenue-producing, well-organized space?
Start by determining your needs, says veterinary architect Mark Hafen, AIA, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and founding partner at Animal Arts in Boulder, Colo. Decide how many workstations you need, then design the room around that. As a general rule, the number of medical workstations should mirror the number of exam rooms. You can locate these workstations anywhere—from the ultrasound room to the surgery suite—but determining how many you need will give you an idea of how your treatment area should look.
Next, decide what you’d like to accomplish in the treatment area. Will there be separate outpatient and inpatient treatment areas? Do you want a separate surgery prep area? Will you offer dental services? Plan to allocate 100 to 120 square feet of space to each function, Hafen says.
Once you’ve done that, try to group similar workstations together. For example, you might consider placing two dental stations next to each other to work off of one dental radiography unit. And keep in mind that the treatment area is the hub of the medical section of your practice. Since other medical functions run off of the area, try to wrap it on all four sides with important rooms such as surgery, radiography, and lab areas.
Perhaps the most important consideration for your treatment area: Make sure your team members have room to move. Draw a 5-foot area around the diameter of each workstation—try to account for that area in your design so that team members don’t impede on it during normal traffic flow. In other words, give them plenty of room to walk.