A recent survey conducted by the Royal College of Nursing suggests that attitudes toward therapy animals in hospitals is improving.
Among the 750 nurses sampled in the survey, 82% believed animals could help patients be more physically active. 60% believed animals improved physical recovery. Despite the favorable view of therapy animals, many of the respondents reported that their hospitals still held policies that barred animals.
The issue of anti-animal policies held by hospitals continues to be a contentious issue for hospital administrators and staff. Despite evidence that suggests pets and therapy animals can improve outcomes for patients, many hospitals are reluctant to open their doors to animals due to long-standing myths and misconceptions.
Several doctors and nurses have taken it upon themselves to advocate for animal-friendly policies. Among those working to open more hospitals to animals is Amanda Cheesley, a nurse working to establish guidelines to promote best practices and to dispel misconceptions regarding animals in hospitals.
“Hospitals have been very reluctant to allow dogs in, whether it’s about fear of infection or about other patients being frightened. Clearly those things have to be taken into account but it doesn’t seem unreasonable for an elderly lady recovering from a hip operation to be wheeled out to meet her dog, or for him to be brought to her, to say hello.”
— Amanda Cheesley, Professional Lead, Long-Term Conditions, Royal College of Nursing