What’s old is new again: 5 fads return to veterinary hospital design

What’s old is new again: 5 fads return to veterinary hospital design

Architects Heather Lewis and Vicki Pollard shed light on trends they see returning to America’s veterinary practices.
Aug 26, 2016

While the term “fad” has a negative connotation, Vicki Pollard, AIA, CVT, and Heather Lewis, AIA, of Animal Arts, still like it. By definition, a fad is an “intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something.” That doesn’t sound bad, right?

In their talk “5 design fads ready to come back in style” at the Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference at CVC Kansas City, Lewis and Pollard detailed five things they think will burst back onto the design scene soon.

1. Radical removal of barriers

Veterinary hospitals are more open through the use of open floor plans and lots of glass. When privacy is an issue, a textured class or semi-opaque glass can be used.

2. Return of the entrepreneur

The rise of the millennial practice owner has led to unique business models, a push for new technology, such as Tigertext, a secure messaging platform for collaboration and communication between team members, and new services like rehabilitation or alternative medicine techniques.

3. Individualized patient care

You’ve heard it before: Cats are not small dogs, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Species-specific reception areas, exam rooms, wards and treatment areas are going a long way in lowering stress for patients.

4. Energizing spaces

Using interior design to connect and re-energize your clients and staff throughout the day is becoming much more common. Consider the increased use of lighter and brighter areas through the creation of volume (for example, higher ceilings), bright, cheery colors, and natural light. (Bonus tip: One of the fastest (and free!) ways to energize your practice is to declutter everything, Pollard says.

5. Influence of shelter medicine

“Ten years ago, if I’d brought up shelter medicine in a lecture, I would have received a lot of push back,” says Lewis. But today, veterinarians should—and are—thinking much more about how to work with shelters or pets that have been housed in shelters. Sometimes-unvaccinated and/or sick pets come into the shelter and then are adopted out. These shelter pets wind up in your practice with their new owner, where they could get your current patients sick, they say. Some shelters are even going as far as to add a clinic to their campuses these days.