Animals could begin to appear more frequently in medical practice as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced its first ever nationwide protocol for animals in healthcare.
Despite widespread research showing the value of animals in improving patient care, most nurses responding to an RCN survey said that animals were not allowed in their workplace.
Amanda Cheesley, RCN professional lead for long-term conditions and end of life care, blamed ‘myths around the dangers’ for the reluctance of most organisations to try introducing animals.
She said: ‘Anyone who’s worked in this area can see the amazing impact that animals have on the health of adults and children alike.’
In the RCN survey, the majority of respondents thought that animals were hugely beneficial to patients. The RCN claimed that by following the proposed protocol, services will be able to give their patients the full benefits that animal interaction can bring, without jeopardising patient safety, or that of healthcare staff, the animals or their owners.
The protocol will be launched later this year.