Heron's Crossing Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

March 23, 2020

While we know that this is a stressful time for our entire global community, we also recognize the very personal heartbreak that you may be experiencing as you face this difficult decision for your pet. To be faced with a painful personal loss at a time when there is fear and uncertainty in the world around us can feel overwhelming and isolating.

Our goal during this time and all times is to be here to support you through the loss of your beloved friend and to help your pet say goodbye peacefully and gently at home where they are most comfortable. We recognize that when fear and heartbreak increase in the world, so does the need for compassion, empathy, and courage, and our goal is to continue to provide services while doing everything we can to minimize risk.

 

To ensure that we are able to continue to help pet families in our community, we have developed a plan to keep our clients and staff safe, and to do our part in slowing community spread here in Atlanta. This plan is outlined below and describes what our company will be doing and what we ask of our clients during this difficult time.

 

What we are doing:

  • If our veterinarian becomes ill, she will immediately self-isolate, pursue COVID-19 testing if available, and not return to work for 14 days or until cleared by her doctor.

  • Increasing car and office cleaning and disinfecting surfaces

  • Taking extra hygiene and distancing precautions at all home visits, including:

  • Change clothes in between each appointment

  • Wash hands before and after each home visit - or -

  • Use hand sanitizer before and after each home-visit

  • Carry disinfectant spray in vehicle so that I can disinfect belongings that others may have touched

  • Maintaining social distance of 6+ feet at all times, and keep closer distances to periods of less than 5 minutes

  • Utilizing additional Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, mask, and shoe cover

  • Refraining from leaving any papers or materials in the home. All grief support materials can be emailed separately.

  • Refraining from handling payment in the home

  • If requested, the doctor will be comfortable performing the euthanasia without the client’s presence. The doctor will facilitate payment, communication, and aftercare services without coming into personal contact with the client.

  • If weather conditions and pet temperament make it possible, the appointment should be performed outdoors to maximize personal space.

 

What we ask of you during this time:

  • Read and acknowledge the electronic consent form found here or in your confirmation email

  • Let our support staff know if you or anyone in your family has been ill with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath).

  • Let our support staff know if you or anyone in your family has traveled internationally or on a cruise ship in the past 14 days so that we can work with our doctor to take extra precautions or postpone the visit.

  • If you or anyone in your home is feeling ill, please cancel your visit and work with our support team to reschedule when it is safe to do so. There will be no charge for cancellation.

  • Wash your hands immediately before and after the doctor’s visit.

  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet from the doctor and minimize closer distance periods to less than 5 minutes.

  • To assure proper social distance can be maintained, we ask that you limit the number of people at the appointment.  Additional family members are encouraged to join via Facetime, Skype, or a phone call.

  • Prepay for your visit over the phone or online with a credit card. If you do not have a credit card, you may pay with CareCredit over the phone.

  • If weather and pet temperament permits, consider having the visit outdoors

  • The doctor will call you when she is on the way to help review the precautions

  • If you prefer to avoid the risk of transmission, you may talk to our support team or doctor about an unattended euthanasia, in which the doctor gently and lovingly euthanizes your pet without any owners present.

 

Most importantly, we ask our clients for their understanding and flexibility during this challenging time. Cancelling or rescheduling a client’s visit is a last-resort option and a decision that we do not take lightly. However, if our doctor is suddenly feeling ill or was exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case, we will be in contact with you with alternative options.

We recognize that there is an inherent risk with all types of social contact and we understand that many people want to avoid that risk. Our doctor has some level of inevitable risk of exposure, just as the general public does, due to her family and activities of daily living such as grocery shopping. If you are interested in learning options for keeping your pet as comfortable as possible until the risk of COVID-19 lessens, we recommend that you contact your family vet for palliative care options or talk with a member of our team about options for unattended euthanasia.

As this situation unfolds, there may be additional recommendations handed down by the CDC or the Georgia Department of Health.  We will monitor these and make changes to this plan as necessary.  We promise to communicate transparently and clearly and do whatever we can to identify options and precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.

 

© 2020 by Heron's Crossing. All rights reserved.

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