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Introducing Pet Partners® and Other Visiting Animal Programs to Healthcare Facilities

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Part I: Definitions and Benefits
 AAA  AAT  AAA/AAT Benefits for Clients  Examples of AAT Goals  AAA/AAT Benefits for Facilities  Facts about Therapy Animals
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Animal-assisted Activities
 Animal-assisted activities (AAA): Animal-assisted activities are usually described as casual "meet and greet" activities that involve pets visiting people. The same activity can be repeated with many people, unlike a therapy program that is tailored to a particular person or medical condition.

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Animal-assisted Therapy
 Animal-assisted therapy (AAT): Animal-assisted therapy is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal is an integral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed and/or delivered and documented by a health/human service professional with a specific clinical goal in mind.

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AAA/AAT Benefits for Clients
 Positive physiological effects (e.g. decrease heart rate and blood pressure)  Mental stimulation (e.g. recall memories)  Feelings of acceptance and good rapport  Outward focus  Opportunities for empathy and nurturing  Increased motivation  Entertainment and socialization
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Examples of AAT Goals
 Physical (e.g. improve fine motor skills, wheelchair skills, or standing balance)  Mental Health (e.g. increase attention skills, reduce anxiety, reduce loneliness)  Educational (e.g. improve knowledge of concepts such as size, color, etc.)  Motivational (e.g. improve willingness to be involved in activities and to interact with others)
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AAA/AAT Benefits for Facilities
 Provide cost effective treatment  Increase patient and staff satisfaction  Improve clinical outcomes  Experience faster recovery times  Utilize cutting edge clinical applications  Receive positive attention from the media
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Facts About Therapy Animals
 Visiting animal-handler teams are the most common source of therapy animals that participate in AAA/AAT. These teams travel from their homes to facilities for durations usually lasting 1 to no longer than 2 hours.  Residential animals that live at a facility can also be therapy animals. Considerations of expenses and the animals’ health and enjoyment should be given significant attention in these cases.
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Part II: Resources and Steps to Aid in Utilizing AAA/AAT
 What is Delta Society?  What is the Pet Partners program?  Risk Management and Liability  Resources for Facilities and Staff  Initial Steps for a Facility  Initial Costs to a Facility
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What Is Delta Society?
 Delta Society is an international non-profit organization, founded in 1977.  Delta Society’s mission: Improving human health through service and therapy animals.  Delta Society is committed to expanding therapeutic and service roles of animals through animal-assisted therapy and animalassisted activities.
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Delta Society: A Leader in the Human-Animal Health Connection
 Emphasizes standards-based AAA/AAT programs  Offers the nationally recognized Pet Partners program  Registers all types of domestic animals, in addition to dogs  Trains healthcare professionals in animalassisted therapy techniques  Provides important resources and ongoing support ©Delta Society

What Is Delta Society’s Pet Partners Program?
 Internationally recognized Pet Partners program, founded in 1990: Registers handler-animal teams as being qualified for participation in AAA/AAT Provides health, skills, and aptitude standards for handlers and animals Requires adherence to Pet Partners Policies and Procedures Connects visiting handler-animal teams with facilities
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Pet Partners: Standards Based
 The volunteers and animals visiting each facility as Pet Partners have been trained, screened, and registered. Becoming a well prepared Pet Partners team requires: Step 1: Pet Partners Team Training Course Step 2: Health Screening of Animal Step 3: Evaluation of Handler and Animal Team Step 4: Registration Packet & Fee
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Pet Partners: Standards Based

 Over 8,000 registered Pet Partners teams serve in the U.S. and internationally  Pet Partners receive: Identification badge for handler and collar tag for animal Access to licensed Evaluators and Instructors as local resources Ongoing support and resources from the Delta Society office Over $1 million in primary liability insurance
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Risk Management and Liability
 Standardized screening requires good health, cleanliness, and appropriate skills and aptitudes for every registered animal  Standardized training prepares handlers with practical knowledge of infection control and prevention of zoonotic diseases (i.e. infections transmitted from animals to humans)  Standardized training teaches practical ways to prevent and respond to possible risks, accidents, or unusual occurrences  Registered Pet Partners receive over $1 million in primary liability insurance ©Delta Society

Delta Society Resources for Facilities and Staff
 Suggested guidelines for written AAA/AAT policies and procedures, required for each facility  Educational resources for staff orientation and continuing education  Site assessment to evaluate each facility and suggest suitability of AAA/AAT programs  Connections with potential Pet Partners volunteers  Listing in Delta Society’s nationwide database of registered facilities  Ongoing support from Delta Society
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Initial Steps for a Facility
(refer to Delta Society’s Facility Registration Packet for detailed guidance)
1. Obtain Facility Registration Packet from Delta Society 2. Conduct site assessment and develop AAA/AAT Policies and Procedures for specific facility 3. Register with Delta Society 4. Conduct staff training to discuss goals, responsibilities, expectations 5. Conduct volunteer orientation of specific facility
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Initial Costs to a Facility
 Registering with Delta Society Includes on-going listing in Delta Society’s national referral network for Pet Partners  Printed resources  Staff orientation  Possible extra costs Outside site assessment, outside staff training, AAT Applications training for healthcare professionals, additional resources and references
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Possibilities for Expanding Programs
 Conduct workshops to train potential Pet Partners volunteers  Train professional healthcare staff in AAT with Delta Society’s “AAT Applications Course I” and certified instructor

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Helpful Resources
 Numerous books, guides, journal and periodical abstracts, articles, and bibliographies are helpful and available, and many can be viewed on the Delta Society web site.  Delta Society offers a wide variety of resources concerning companion animals, AAA, AAT, Pet Partners training and screening, service animals, etc.
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Recommended References
Recommended references include:  Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy. Delta Society. 1996.  Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations for Guidelines and Practice. by Aubrey H. Fine (Editor). 1999.  Delta Society’s “Facility Registration Packet.”
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Where to Find References
Delta Society offers an extensive bibliography and an online store:

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Contact Delta Society
For information, products, services, consultation, and support, contact Delta Society: or call 425.679.5500

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