Animal Hospital Design Best Practices Case Study: Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester

July 1, 2020

Exterior of Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester at New Hampshire

After almost three decades in business, Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester (VECM) recently reopened at 12,249 SF in a new location. With open doors 24/7/365, VECM’s passion for and high quality of emergency and critical care services is exemplified in various implementations of veterinary design best practices, including for materials/finishes, disease control, and sound mitigation.

Exam Room at Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

Treatment Area at Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

Special Procedures Room at Veterinary Emergency of Manchester in New Hampshire

Surgical Room at Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

Canine Ward at Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

The selection of appropriate resistant interior finish materials in a veterinary hospital presents both a maintenance advantage as well as a cost benefit due to long-term durability. VECM’s waiting area as well as the easily-accessed exam and comfort rooms (i.e. outpatient areas) are floored in easy-to-clean porcelain tile, making for efficient preparation between clients. Inpatient areas — such as the 24/7 ICU, treatment areas, and surgical center — include a full range of veterinary and specialty services and are floored with welded vinyl. Patient housing areas are floored similarly, and the walls of interior resting dog runs and bathing areas are comprised of fiberglass-reinforced panels (FRP).

Isolation Room at Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

Of course, designing for disease control is paramount to the success of any veterinary hospital facility. At VECM, for example, patients with infectious disease are housed and treated in an isolation suite comprised of a transition vestibule as well as in parvovirus/respiratory treatment rooms. Patients are actually admitted directly into the suite from an exterior door, eliminating any exposure to other patients in the hospital. Staff can visually and electronically monitor patients from outside of the suite and, when needed, enter through a transition vestibule with PPE dispensers and waste receptacles. Within the vestibule, there are footbaths at both doors into the treatment rooms. Separately-zoned mechanical systems for this area are exhausted to the outside and negatively-pressurized to prevent any mixing of air between isolation and other hospital areas.

Lobby of Veterinary Emergency Center of Manchester in New Hampshire

Another salient design consideration for veterinary hospital facilities is sound control, which is achieved at VECM in three ways: (1) minimizing sources of unwanted noise, (2) absorbing noise at the source, and (3) minimizing the transfer of noise from one space to another. This hospital’s layout reduces patient stress with species-specific animal housing that minimizes ward size and face-to-face orientations. Housing wards are mostly isolated into one area of the floor plan, remote to any client areas. Windows between wards and corridors allows frequent passive monitoring of patients without opening doors to noise. Sound absorption is provided with acoustic ceiling tile (ACT) and acoustical wall panels throughout the hospital. ACT in dog wards, the ICU, and surgical areas are provided with medical-grade, moisture-resistant panels, so sound absorption does not compromise other important performance criteria. Finally, acoustic panels, partitions, doors, and glazing limit sound transmission from one space to another throughout the facility to pre-defined acceptable limits.

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