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RCN wants patients’ pets allowed in hospitals

The RCN is encouraging more hospitals to explore animal therapy and will launch a nationwide protocol to support safety and best practice.

The RCN is encouraging more hospitals to explore animal therapy and will launch a nationwide protocol to support safety and best practice.

pet
A majority of nurses in an RCN survey wanted animals to be allowed
in healthcare settings. Picture: Tim George

The announcement comes after an RCN survey found a majority of nurses believe animals are ‘hugely beneficial’ to patients.

Most nurses say animals are not currently allowed in the workplace. The RCN’s protocol aims to ensure the safety of patients and staff, as well animals and their owners.

RCN professional lead for long-term conditions and end of life care Amanda Cheesley will draw on expert advice from charities, nursing staff and a variety of healthcare organisations to develop the protocol, which will be launched later this year.

Ms Cheesley said: ‘Anyone who has worked in this area can see the amazing impact animals have on the health of adults and children alike.

‘However, there are so many myths around the dangers of having animals in healthcare settings that most organisations are too concerned to try it out.’

Remove taboo

‘This protocol will help to dispel these fears by supporting hospitals to include animals in the care they deliver in a safe and professional way.

‘We hope it will encourage all health services to consider how animals can help their patients and help us to remove the taboo from what is a really remarkable area of care.’

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence research has shown there are wide ranging benefits to animal and patient interaction.

The RCN survey found that nine out of ten nurses believe animals can improve the health of patients with depression and other mental health problems, and 60% said the presence of animals could speed up patient recovery.

Talking at a lecture today, animal therapy pioneer Lyndsey Uglow will discuss how she and her golden retriever Leo have changed the lives of hundreds of children at Southampton General Hospital.


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