Policy briefing

Guidance for bringing dogs into healthcare settings

A new RCN protocol supports nurses in planning to bring dogs safely into care homes and other healthcare environments
A woman carer and therapy dog with an elderly female patient

A new RCN protocol supports nurses in planning to bring dogs safely into care homes and other healthcare environments

Essential facts

There has been significant growth in the number of therapy dogs and assistance dogs, helping people with a range of disabilities, medical conditions and mental health problems, according to the RCN. This means dogs are increasingly visiting healthcare settings and care homes.

A survey by the RCN in 2016 found that although the majority of more than 750 nurses thought animals were beneficial to patients, most said animals were not allowed in their workplace.

Concerns about bringing dogs into clinical environments include safety and infection control.

What’s new?

New guidance from the RCN supports nurses to plan and bring dogs safely into hospitals and

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