It’s really important to have an animals policy. Even if the Trust isn’t considering anything particularly ambitious with animals, there still needs to be guidelines about assistance dogs, patients’ pets etc. Happily there are already some great policies which can be used for inspiration.

These are the sorts of issues to cover:

1. Introduction. Most hospital policies begin with a warm acknowledgement of the potential benefits of patients having contact with animals. It’s also good to affirm the principles of care for the animals eg The Five Freedoms

2. Roles and responsibilities

3. Animals on Hospital Premises

a. Assistance Dogs

b. Ward Pets

c. Other Visiting Animals (eg patients’ pets, Pets as Therapy)

4. Legal Requirements

5. Health

6. Welfare

7. Knowledge and training

8. Patients’ pets at home

9. Responsibility and compliance

And these are particularly wonderfully helpful policies: Animals in Hospitals Residences.  Very detailed policy, examples, evidence base etc: Animals as Therapy Booklet


More examples are downloadable here