The NHLP Resource Center is conducting a project dealing with culture change and companion animals in nursing homes. The culture change movement, which is national in scope, is aimed at transforming nursing homes so that they provide person-centered care in home- like rather than institutional environments. One frequently cited manifestation of nursing home culture change is the introduction of companion animals into nursing home settings.
The first step in the project was a review of the research literature on the benefits of human-animal interaction. The second step was an examination of the regulatory framework for companion animals in nursing homes which involved a 50 state survey of state nursing home licensing statutes and regulations. The next step in the project, which is currently underway, is a survey of nursing homes in Iowa to ascertain whether and to what extent they have pet visitation programs and/or facility pets, as well as whether and to what extent they allow residents’ personal pets to live with the residents in the facility. The last step in the project will be the drafting of a model statute and regulation with commentary dealing with the issues posed by companion animals in nursing home settings,
A presentation about the project was given at the 2009 annual conference of the Pioneer Network which is the leading national forum for the long-term care culture change movement. See below to view this presentation.
Culture Change and Companion Animals in Nursing Homes: Benefits, Risks, Barriers and Best Practices
Presentation by Josephine Gittler and Carol Compass