Who let the dogs out? Infection control did: utility of dogs in health care settings and infection control aspects.

Abstract:

:Research has substantiated that animals improve human health, both psychologically and physiologically. Therefore, healthcare facilities have begun to implement programs, such as the "Furry Friends Foundation," that bring animals into the facility to improve the quality of life of patients. When implementing these programs, consideration must be given to potential adverse events such as phobias, allergies, and particularly the possibility of zoonotic disease transmission. Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre (SCVMC), a 600-bed county teaching hospital with specialized units (e.g., for burns, rehabilitation, and pediatric care), has implemented programs that incorporate animals into the healthcare setting. This facility allows three categories of dogs to interact with their patients: service dogs, therapy dogs, and pet visitation dogs by the "Furry Friends Foundation." A blurring of the roles of the three categories of dogs occurred when these programs were put into place at SCVMC. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service animals cannot be prohibited from any area. For example, a "no pet allowed" policy could not apply to these animals. Proof of a person's disability or proof of the service animal's health or training cannot be required. The purpose of this project was to maintain these programs by clarifying the policies regarding animals, specifically dogs, in the healthcare setting. This had to take place to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for the patients and the staff. A comprehensive table was developed to delineate the three categories of dogs and the corresponding policies. Therapy dogs and the visitation animals are more restricted than service dogs. Both therapy dogs and visitation dogs require identification and certification of health and are excluded from certain areas of the facility, including intensive care units and isolation rooms. By complying with the current policies and regulations, the risks from these programs can be minimized. Staff should be educated on the proper terminology and procedures to prevent a blurring of the categories and roles of these animals.

journal_name

Am J Infect Control

authors

DiSalvo H,Haiduven D,Johnson N,Reyes VV,Hench CP,Shaw R,Stevens DA

doi

10.1016/j.ajic.2005.06.005

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2006-06-01 00:00:00

pages

301-7

issue

5

eissn

0196-6553

issn

1527-3296

pii

S0196-6553(05)00585-7

journal_volume

34

pub_type

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