Whether you’re fitting out a new veterinary practice or refurbishing your existing one, one of the key rooms you’ll need to consider is your operating room.
As you probably already know, the “client-facing” rooms in your practice (such as your waiting room) offer plenty of opportunity for personalisation. However, this isn’t the case for rooms where you’ll be performing surgical procedures.
Instead, when it comes to your vet practice operating room design, it’s important to consider functionality, workflows, sterility, and other key drivers. Each state and territory government has minimum standards and guidelines which veterinary practices that conduct surgical procedures (and therefore have operating rooms) must follow. Because these guidelines are set by the state or territory’s Veterinary Board, they vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. As such, it’s important to discover which rules apply to you.
Below we’ve listed some general principles for guiding your vet clinic operating room design.
One fundamental driver when designing your operating room is the need to maintain a sterile environment.
To move between these areas, you’ll need a dedicated sterilisation area. This area needs to include all the necessary equipment for preparing to enter your operating room, such as a scrubbing sink.
Another key consideration for avoiding contamination is your ventilation system. Certain airflow systems can help to decrease the volume of bacteria in the air in your operating room. So it’s worth identifying and installing one that can assist you in this way.
While every surgery is different, you’ll still find that much of the movement in your operating room during a surgical procedure is quite similar.
To map out the requirements that accompany these workflows, consider where your veterinary staff need things. This may include electrical sockets for equipment, areas for discarding used tools, and equipment for transporting pets between rooms. Then, design your room accordingly.
To fully facilitate workflows, you should also consider the areas that may be outside your operating room. These include preparation areas for shaving, sedating, or otherwise prepping your patients, and sterilisation areas like those discussed above.
Before and after any surgical procedure, your operating room will need to be cleaned. So, it makes sense to ensure your room is easy to clean.
An easy-to-clean floor is an obvious place to start. Certain floor surfaces such as tile and laminate are significantly easier to clean and keep sterile than materials such as carpet. Similarly, easy-to-clean walls are a must. There are a variety of tough, easy-clean paints on the market.
You could also consider plastic coatings or panels, tiles, and other impermeable surfaces. However, it’s important to ensure that the gaps or ridges between these materials are not going to become a breeding ground for bacteria. You could also consider glass, which is easy to clean. It can also have the added benefit of facilitating easy communication between the operating room and those outside it.
At Elite Fitout Solutions, we’ve worked on veterinary practice fitouts and refurbishments across Australia.
Contact us to discuss your plans for your new or refurbished vet practice.