One of the projects that the MOJO team is working on right now is making telephone calls to clients of a busy practice the day after their pet has had a procedure such as an op or anaesthetic procedure. We have been asked to do this because the practice values their clients and wants to check their understanding of any post-operative instructions – medications, wound care etc. – as well as confirming that their pet is recovering as expected from any sedation or anaesthetic. It helps to provide reassurance for the client and to help with compliance, and ultimately benefits the pet.
Making some of these calls myself, I am reminded about how the way in which we talk and advise our clients in practice might be done with the best of intentions, but often falls short of what’s needed. Take for example, the buster collar. Delivery of advice with regards to its use is often given with our background limiting belief that the pet won’t like it, or the owner will say no. Often the client is asked if they think their pet will lick their wound and when the reply is “no” or “not sure”, we reply with the line “well come back and get a collar if he/she does”. It’s hardly a clear and effective recommendation is it? And does it leave the client feeling prepared and reassured? While our ‘wooliness’, to us, appears to demonstrate our empathy as veterinary professionals to the potential distress a collar might cause for both the patient and the owner (backs of legs and low flying ornaments spring to mind!), does this really help either of them? Is it just that we are trying to appear caring and thoughtful, or could it be that we don’t want to appear to be selling something?
So, the pet gets home and then starts to lick at a wound, leaving the client having to make an extra effort to come back to collect a collar or go to the local superstore to buy one – often guessing at the size that will be needed – and paying for it not just in monetary form but in additional time, inconvenience and stress! As veterinary professionals we understand the benefit of protecting the wound and the implications of possible secondary infections. By changing our mind-set to one of ‘best for patient care’ rather than our limiting belief of ‘not appearing to be selling’ – more pets would leave the practice with a collar for the often inevitable licking and owners will be grateful to have it because they have understood the benefit, and are ready to move the ornaments and protect their legs for the shortened recovery time.