UCLA Health People-Animal Connection focuses not only on improving the mental and emotional wellness of all whom we encounter, but are also highly conscious of protecting patients’ health. We work closely with our Infection Prevention Department, Animal-Assisted Therapy Organizations, and local veterinarians to ensure we bring only positivity to our patients and their families. Listed below is an outline of our safety practices, which ensures our four-legged friends are able to do their job of supporting patients and raising spirits!
Our PAC teams do not visit patients without their care team’s approval. Additionally, we never enter a patient room on isolation, which is clearly marked by a placard on or around the patient’s door. Furthermore, hand sanitizer is required for everyone, before and after petting PAC dogs, and a protective barrier is used for bed or chair visits.
Additionally, our teams are trained before coming into our program through our governing Pet Therapy Organization, Pet Partners. Our program uses their standards & guidelines. All teams must take a training workshop, which includes the ‘Infection Prevention and Control’. To become a registered therapy team, each handler/dog must pass an in-person evaluation, which is a 26-part test, and repeat it every two years, along with providing canine health records and veterinary approval. Only then is the team registered. Then the team goes through the hospital volunteer onboarding process, which includes a background check and a health clearance for both human and canine. Once onboarded, the team begins in-hospital training which can last up to eight visits. Once completed they become an official UCLA Health People-Animal Connection Canine team!
People-Animal Connection is dedicated to finding new ways of enhancing patient morale and healing, while keeping safety at the forefront of all we do. To provide more information we’ve attached a copy of the Pet Partners Infection Prevention guidelines.