Policies & Procedures
VCU Health policies and procedures for Dogs On Call are included in the VCUHS Animals in the Hospital Policy 2017 which you can also read below:
Animals in the Hospital
VCUHS Policy File Identifier: LD.AD.002
Owner: Vice President, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Author: Dr. Sandra Barker
Revision #: v2.1
Date Last Updated: 11/13/2017
Center for Human Animal Interaction
Individuals / Who Performs:
Research studies document the benefits of human-companion animal interaction and animalassisted therapy in healthcare settings (Abstracts of published studies by Center for HumanAnimal Interaction Investigators (http://www.chai.vcu.edu/research/pcr.html) and Other Human-Animal Interaction Research (http://www.anthrozoologyresearchgroup.com/). This policy allows for the provision of this evidence-based activity while recognizing the need to reduce risk of exposing patients, employees, and visitors to communicable diseases that might be transmitted from contact with animals.
There are also questions which arise around service animals in the environment, specifically how these differ from emotional support and therapy animals and what restrictions are we allowed and not allowed to put on these types of animals.
To provide information on non-research animals brought into the VCU Health System. For information on research animals contact VCU's Animal Care and Use Program (ACUP).
|Companion Animal||Any animal not a service or support/therapy animal.|
|Emotional Support or Therapy Animal||An animal not individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. May be any species, such as monkey, ferret or snake.|
|Service Animal||Any dog or miniature horse individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting person to a sound, reminding a person to take a medication, or pressing an elevator button.|
A. All animals must be kept in a carrier or on a leash in all areas of VCU Health. If leash or carrier interferes with a service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices, the service animal’s handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
B. VCU Health System does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability.
C. Animals which pose a direct threat to the health and safety of patients, visitors or team members or fundamentally alter team member’s ability to provide essential services may be asked to be removed from the area.
D. At no time are animals allowed in sterile areas or areas that require a protected environment, e.g., operating room, labor and delivery suite.
E. Accommodations will be made to safely care for an animal when their handler, who is a patient, cannot due to a medical or behavioral condition. Contact Risk Management for assistance at 828- 1707 or if after hours, the Clinical Administrator via pager # 6105.
F. Emotional Support/Therapy Animals 12/7/2018 Animals in the Hospital https://mcvh-vcu.zavanta.com/website/document/0a2bbd36-0553-4dc8-98f9-f15059616d35/fd700df5-cd02-4342-8189-98e3a28ddd7e/a8376318-ebd6… 3/6 F.1. Dogs, which are not a patient's pet or a service animal, may only interact with health system patients, visitors or team members after meeting the Dogs on Call program requirements (https://chai.vcu.edu/volunteer/becoming-a-dogs-on-call-team/), as set forth by the VCU School of Medicine Center for Human-Animal Interaction. F.2. Emotional Support Animals that provide comfort and have not been trained to perform a specific job or task are not service animals and are treated as companion animals under this policy.
G. Companion Animals (Pets)
G.1. Animals not trained to perform a specific task to assist a person with a disability are considered companion animals (pets) and must fulfill the requirements of companion animals visiting the Health System.
G.2. Companion animals (pets) are not service animals and are not routinely permitted to accompany their owners. Only pets that are dogs are able to visit with patients. Exceptions can be made only with approval of the patient's attending physician, nurse manager of the area involved and epidemiology.
H. Service Animals
H.1. Service animals are allowed access to areas of the Health System that are open to the general public when accompanying a patient or visitor with disabilities.
H.2. A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove their service animal from public areas of the Health System unless the service animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of patients, visitors or team members or fundamentally alters team member’s ability to provide essential services.
H.3. At no time are animals allowed in sterile areas and areas that require a protected environment.
H.4. Service Animals are allowed in the intensive care units, procedural areas, areas with immunocompromised patients, after consultation with the patient’s attending or designee, nurse manager of the area involved and epidemiology.
H.5. Service animals are not excluded from such areas, unless an individual patient’s situation or a particular animal poses greater risk of infection or injury which cannot be mitigated through reasonable measures. 12/7/2018 Animals in the Hospital https://mcvh-vcu.zavanta.com/website/document/0a2bbd36-0553-4dc8-98f9-f15059616d35/fd700df5-cd02-4342-8189-98e3a28ddd7e/a8376318-ebd6… 4/6 Procedure
H.6. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, team members must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain services without the animal’s presence.
H.7. Team members may not require proof of certification or other evidence of service animal status as service animals are not required to wear vests, patches or harnesses that identify them as service animals.
H.9. If it is not immediately obvious that the animal is a service animal, team members may ask two specific questions to determine if the animal is a service animal: Is the animal required because of a disability? What specific task has the animal been trained to perform?
H.10. Patients and visitors with service animals are responsible for their care and control, including feeding, exercising, and toileting.
H.11. Team members are not required to provide water, food, exercise or toileting of the service animal.
1. Handlers unable to care for their service animal
1. Advise the patient or visitor to make arrangements with a family member or friend to come to the hospital or clinic to provide these services if the patient or visitor is unable.
2. Contact Risk Management 828-1707 or after hours Clinical Administrator via Telepage #6105 or Social Work as appropriate if patient cannot care for the service animal and does not have anyone available to care for the service animal.
2. Animals posing a direct threat or fundamentally altering the provision of essential services
1. Ensure the patient’s attending or designee will collaborate with the nurse manager of the patient’s assigned unit, epidemiology and Risk Management as appropriate to assess on an individual basis if the risk that the service animal poses is a direct threat to patients, visitors or team members.
2. Offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence when there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed.
3. Explain to the patient or visitor the rationale for not allowing the service animal.
4. Assist the patient or visitor make alternative arrangements for the service animal.
5. Document in the patient’s medical record the rationale of separating the service animal from the owner.
3. Requests for a patient's companion animal to visit
1. Verify that the visit has been approved by the patient's attending Physician, or designee, the nurse manager for the area involved and epidemiology and an order has been entered authorizing the visit.
2. Coordinate the date and time of visit with the nurse manager or designee.
3. Request documentation of the dog's vaccination status and place it in the patient's medical record.
4. Advise handler that the dog must be bathed within 24 hours before the visit.
5. Provide the patient and handler with a copy of Instructions for Visitation by Patient's Pet.
Related Content: Frequently asked questions about service animals from the Justice Department, Click here. (http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html) information on service animals (http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm) from the Justice Department.