Patient Family Pets

1069 Words 5 Pages
In a patient-centered care environment, clinical decisions are guided by the patient’s preferences, needs and values (Wolfe, 2001). In our hospital, some patients and family members have asked about the possibility of bringing family pets in to visit. Nurses will sometimes secretly allow these visits during less crowded visitation times such as evenings and weekends. However, as our hospital becomes more patient centered, and the requests quite possibly become more frequent, the need for an official policy on pet visitation becomes more apparent.
A pet visitation policy is intended to benefit the patient in many ways. First of all, pets have been shown to improve their owner’s cardiovascular health, reduce stress, reduce pain and provide comfort. The American Heart
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The patient and/or patient family member would first need to make the request through their nurse. The nurse can do an initial assessment as to the eligibility of the patient for a pet visit at this time. Immunocompromised patients and those with open wounds would be examples of patients who might be excluded from pet visitation. The nurse can then print an official request form and educational materials for the patient and family regarding their responsibilities up to and during the visit. The patient’s doctor must be notified to write an order approving the visit and the patient or patient family will need to get their veterinarian to submit a form certifying that the pet is up-to-date on rabies vaccinations, is healthy and is free of parasites. The animal should be bathed and groomed within 24 hours of the visit and the nails should be trimmed. The pet should be accompanied by a competent adult handler at all times during the visit and should be crated if possible. Finally, the handler should encourage the animal to urinate and/or defecate just before the hospital visit and should not feed the animal within two hours of the

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