Building new? Plan now for AAHA certification

Building new? Plan now for AAHA certification

These design touches won’t just get you points on your AAHA accreditation score. They’re industry standards that Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference educator Heather Lewis, AIA, hopes to see in every veterinary hospital, every time.
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Aug 25, 2017

Most of you are familiar with some of AAHA’s guidelines for certifying a veterinary hospital, but did you know that there are some standards that can’t be met without having the right physical spaces built into your hospital from the start? Heather Lewis, AIA, of Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado, shared examples of these items with a packed room at the 2017 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Let’s dive into examples from three big categories: setting up special rooms, planning for equipment and planning for the patient.

1. Setting up special veterinary hospital rooms

Anesthesia. Induction needs to be done in its own dedicated area. This means that the practice shouldn’t be inducing in the surgery room, and other work shouldn’t be done on the induction table, Lewis notes.

Surgery recovery. Hospitals also need a dedicated area for recovery outside of the surgery suite—however, this space could be used for other animal housing situations as needed, Lewis says.

Isolation. Beyond the space requirement, Lewis states, the isolation room needs finishes that are easy to clean, a dedicated exam table, a floor drain and a hose bib. The room should also have negative air pressure compared to the spaces around it and should not recirculate air back into any other space.

2. Planning for equipment

Laboratory. You need enough electrical power for equipment as well as the manufacturers’ standard equipment clearances.

Radiography. You need to produce quality diagnostic images at the hospital as part of the AAHA accreditation standards. This means that barrier protection must be in place in radiograph rooms. This is also an OSHA requirement, Lewis says. Plan for adequate working space around three sides of the radiograph table. This is relevant, Lewis says, because radiography rooms often get shorted on space in the plan.

3. Planning for the patient

Workflow and patient flow. Standards dictate that the movement of clients and patients through the hospital allow for separation of species. This includes species segregation in waiting areas as well as five-foot-wide passing space for two dogs on leashes in corridors. Not only is the separation of species AAHA compliant, it’s a good Fear Free concept, Lewis notes.

If you want to learn more, register for next year’s Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference and get an up-to-date listing of AAHA’s accreditation standards here.