Soon-to-be-moms, nursing moms, and toddlers are a part of practice now more than ever. And as an ever-increasing number of female veterinarians seek employment, and eventually ownership, women’s needs will influence facility design even more.
Five years ago Dr. Neil Shaw and his 14 associates worked from a 1,500-square-foot facility. They had so little exam space they were forced to consult with clients over a picnic table or across the seat of a client’s car. Dr. Shaw knew he needed more room, so he built an 11,575-square-foot facility to house 75 staff members in 1999—a facility that won a 2000 Merit Award from Veterinary Economics.
Twenty-four percent of Well-Managed Practices offer separate canine and feline seating areas. How separate do the areas need to be to make the distinction effective, and how could you add this feature to a facility economically?
Do veterinarians and staff members constantly trip over each other's feet at your practice? Or maybe you round corners with caution to avoid taking out unsuspecting clients. Even remodeling or expanding your facility may not fix the problem if you don't develop an efficient floor plan.
At age 10, my friends and I thought we'd be driving flying cars by 2000. We never envisioned laptop computers, the Internet, or virtual reality. Now the flying car seems absurd, and computers are commonplace. There's a lesson here: When predicting the future, practicality always wins.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made discrimination based on physical disability illegal. The law was originally designed to eliminate employment discrimination, but it applies to public access as well. Any new facility, addition, or significant remodel built after Jan. 26, 1992, must conform to the ADA. The act specifies that second-floor offices, apartments, and conference rooms be accessible as well. While the following isn't an exhaustive list of ADA requirements, it does offer common compliance guidelines that can help prevent a lawsuit.