Our already-strained small animal emergency service anticipates continuing to operate at capacity in the coming months.
We are currently at Level 2 of our tiered triage system. This means patients presenting for chronic illness will not be seen (unless in an acute manifestation) and patients presenting for minor complaints will likely have a substantial wait time. Because patients will be sicker, we cannot care for the same number of emergency cases that we typically accommodate at Level 1 service.
Please know that we are committed to caring for emergent and critically ill animals. However, your clients may experience a long wait or may be asked to schedule an appointment with one of our specialty services or with your clinic for non-emergent conditions or follow-up care instead of being seen through the emergency service.
How You Can Help
During this period, we ask you to partner with us to minimize frustrations and anxiety for clients as well as for veterinary staff at your clinic and our hospital. Following are steps you can take.
- Communicate with your clients about whether their pet’s illness or injury is considered an emergency.
- Identify patients that require emergent care.
- Explain to clients that ER patients are seen according to the severity of their condition, not the order in which they arrive.
- Call our emergency and critical care doctors with your questions about case management and about possible referral; they are available for phone consultations 24/7 to assist you: 217-333-5311.
- Inform clients of the potential for a long wait time before you refer them to our emergency service.
- Provide copies of relevant medical records, imaging studies, and lab results before the patient’s arrival to help us better prepare. Records can be emailed directly to the ER service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our other hospital services continue to operate at normal levels, though schedule availability may be several weeks out. Patients seen through the emergency service will have access to emergent consultation from other specialty services on a case-by-case basis, with the need being determined by the attending ER clinician.
To review the definitions of the four levels in our tiered triage system, please refer to the drop-down information under “Emergency and Critical Care” on our website: vetmed.illinois.edu/4dvms/.