There are many ways in which patients can have contact with animals, and the Care Quality Commission have confirmed that animals are allowed on wards, subject to patients’ needs and Trust policies.
The legal situation page describes this in more detail – and all the specific legislation relates to animal welfare. There are also great examples from wards about managing infection control issues below.=
The head of infection control at the RCN provided this guidance, in addition to confirming there is nothing in the legislation which prohibits animals on wards – or indeed mentions animals! So it’s really down to the discretion of individual organisations:
- the infection control profession regard proportionality as very important. So what is appropriate and proportionate for a surgical recovery ward mustn’t be used as criteria for what’s appropriate and proportionate on a mental health ward
- it’s crucial to have good policies and procedures (see the policy page)
There are NICE guidelines which recommend that people with dementia in health and social care settings benefit from contact with animals: Dementia: supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care