Open Door Pet Policy
Some hospitals have instituted a new visitation policy– allowing pets to visit along with family and friends. As long as certain requirements are met, hospitals such as University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond and two hospitals associated with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota have rolled out the red carpet to welcome beloved four-legged friends. Of course, the animals must have proof that they are healthy and up-to-date on all shots, they must be on a leash or in a carrier when traversing the hallways, and if the patient shares a room –they must first seek approval from their roommate.
It took three years of weighing all the pros and cons, before Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center went ahead and implemented its new pet visitation policy. While concerns included worry about possible infection transmission and liability issues, they were superseded by the substantial healing benefits.
In North Shore University Hospital’s palliative care unit, the calming and comforting presence of personal pets is allowed around the clock.
Although formal research was never conducted as to the healing benefits of these visits within the hospital setting, many people can attest that such a visit was just what their doctor ordered– lifting their mood, reducing stress and providing them with a new lease on life.