Care: Policies and procedures
Policies and procedures to support care decisions
A policy sets a general organisation-wide philosophy about how to manage particular situations or types of cat. These are typical policies that you will need to create in writing to support care.
- Managing long-term medical conditions
A procedure is a standardised way of working, usually documented in writing, followed by all staff and volunteers. These tend to be updated regularly to ensure they reflect current knowledge and best practice. These are typical procedures and paperwork to support care.
- Set up models for pens/cages
- Quarantine arrangements
- Initial health checks and treatments (fleas/worming etc)
- Initial veterinary input/assessment
- Cleaning, infectious disease control – procedure for specific infections
- Litter/litter trays
- Monitoring – daily observations/care notes/TLA/QoL/medications (daily observations can be made on wipe clean cards and recorded on any computer system you may have on a weekly basis)
- Actions to determine suitable outcome and plan to find homes etc.
- Monitoring health/symptoms/escalation procedure
- Caring for specific conditions – e.g. infectious diseases/chronic illness
- Caring for specific groups of cats – e.g. pregnant, elderly
- System for managing foster homes
- Good working procedure with veterinarians – shelter medicine approach
- Good handling techniques
Call to action – monitor every cat as an individual!
- Make it fun! This is another exciting step towards better care and helping more cats in the long-term
- Spread the word amongst all your staff and colleagues to ensure they are clear about the information you have gained from this section and that they understand the benefits of changing, eg monitoring cats using the Traffic Light Assessment will mean that no cat will be overlooked and action will be taken to reduce distress. Get everyone involved and ask for their ideas
- Make sure you collect some basic information that will show everyone the impact of changes – for example recording TLA colours for each cat and monitoring the ratio between green, amber and red cats over time
- Review your existing care documentation; can it be used? Does it need adapting or replacing? Will you need more paperwork or can you expand the existing to include the TLA information?
- Review your existing policies; do you have any? Would particular policies be helpful in your situation? If so, make a list
- Review your existing procedures; do you have any written down? Would particular procedures be helpful in your situation? If so, make a list
- Give yourself a time limit to make these changes and don’t try to do too much at once. Make a list of tasks for each action you wish to take and put the items in order, with those of the greatest urgency at the top. Create a deadline for each task, for example you may want to make one change every month or feel you can realistically achieve two or three. Allocate tasks to specific individuals or small groups so that everyone knows who is responsible for each action plan
- Keep talking and sharing progress with everyone – acknowledge that change may be difficult and can bring to the surface underlying problems that may not have been addressed in the past
- Don’t feel overwhelmed! Just making one change, such as adding a place for every cat to hide, will make a positive difference