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Pet Visitation Guide

Your pet is an important part of your family and may also play an important role in your recovery from illness or injury. The Patient's Personal/Family Pet Visitation Policy allows you to visit with your dog or cat, under certain circumstances, during your hospitalization.

You and the person responsible for coordinating your pet's visit are asked to follow the policy explained below. This policy was developed so that your visit with your pet is safe and enjoyable.

Request a Visit from Your Pet

Contact Volunteer Services, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by calling 706.509.5109. During all other hours, ask your nurse to page Volunteer Services to request information needed for a pet visit. Your physician must complete an order for the pet to visit.

Have your veterinarian complete the Family Pet (Dog/Cat) Visitation Program Health Certificate. Return the form to Volunteer Services at least 24 hours prior to the pet visit.

Make sure you have completed and returned the Release from Liability/Acknowledgement of Liability: Family Pet (Dog/Cat) Visitation to Volunteer Services.

Prior to the Hospital Visit

Prior to the visit, talk to the Volunteer Office to arrange the date, time and location of the pet visit. Evenings and weekends are the best times for visits.

Check the pet's overall health and attitude. Make sure the pet is feeling well enough for the visit.

Bathe and groom the pet within 24 to 48 hours prior to the visit. Make sure the pet is free of fleas and ticks. The pet should wear a sweater, coat or T-shirt to reduce shedding and dander. The pet's nails should be trimmed. Pets are to be in a covered crate while being moved through the hospital to reduce exposure to pet hair and dander.

If the pet is a dog, walk him or her to encourage urination prior to entering the hospital. Please bring a plastic bag or proper equipment for disposal of waste.

Avoid feeding the pet within two hours of the visit or limit the amount.

Meet the Security/Compassionate Paws Volunteer at the agreed upon time and location. The volunteer will provide an escort through a specific entrance and areas of decreased traffic flow to ensure the safety of the pet. If the visit must be canceled, contact Volunteer Services, who will cancel the escort. It may be necessary to step off an elevator if it becomes crowded.

A pet is here to visit only with its family member, not with other patients or visitors.

During the Hospital Visit

During the hospital visit, the pet handler should be on time for the scheduled (15 to 90 minute) visit.

Transport the pet in a pet carrier, if possible, and leash the animal at all times. The pet must remain supervised at all times.

Do not tie the pet to equipment or furniture or hand the leash to other people.

The volunteer escort will post a sign on the door requesting that staff and visitors check with the nurse prior to entering the room.

Stay with the pet, and be in control at all times.

If the pet is going to be placed on the bed, place another sheet (provided for you) on the bed between the pet and the patient.

If the pet has an accident while in the hospital, clean it up immediately.

Soak up pet urine using paper towels, and pick up the soaked paper towels or excrement using a plastic bag you brought for the visit. Turn the bag over, which places trash inside, tie securely, and place in the trash.

Wash your hands immediately.

Ask the volunteer escort or the patient's nurse to notify housekeeping.

In the event of an injury to the patient, another visitor, staff or the pet, end the visit immediately, and notify the volunteer escort and the patient's nurse.

Wash your hands at the end of the visit and before leaving the patient's room.

When you are ready to leave the patient's room, ask the nurse to page the volunteer escort who will escort you out of the hospital using a designated route. Allow 15 minutes for the volunteer escort to be notified.