Developing a Visiting Animal Program
There are many ways that therapy animal team visits can benefit the health and well-being of people in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, child welfare facilities and many other settings. Read through these three easy steps to see how you can collaborate with Pet Partners to develop a program.
If you need assistance after reviewing the steps, set up a free phone consultation with a Pet Partners coordinator. Please be sure to include the best days, times and phone number along with an email address to confirm your scheduled consultation. Setting up a scheduled consultation will assure that you receive the time, support and resources needed to implement a successful program for you facility. Send your request to email@example.com.
Step 1: Initial Set-up
Step 2: Site Assessment / Policies & Procedures
Step 3: Register Your Facility
Step 4: Recruit Therapy Animal Teams
Step 1: Initial Set-Up
Educate your facility about AAA/T through Pet Partners' “Introducing Pet Partners and Other Visiting Animal Programs to Facilities” PowerPoint presentation and Moment by Moment video.
An alternative way to educate your facility is through Pet Partners' Introducing Visiting Animal Program video, which can be purchased through our online store. This eight minute video provides an overview of how to get started, resources, what needs to happen before animal-handler teams make their first visit, the difference between AAA, AAT and Service animals, plus more. An accompanying guide and brochure come with the video.
Step 2: Site Assessment / Policies and Procedures
In order to have a safe program, Pet Partners recommends that your staff familiarize themselves with basic safety and risk management information about AAA/T. For example - is your facility a challenging or easy site for an animal? A facility commonly uses a site assessment as a planning tool to determine whether or not an AAA/T program is a viable option for them. A site assessment evaluates a facility for the suitability of an AAA/T program, based on Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities & Therapy. Standards of Practice is used by all facilities and professionals who desire the highest quality program (similar to hospitals using JCAHO standards).
Establish your program’s policies and procedures using Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy. This handbook provides guidance in administrative structure, standards of practice, personnel credentials, vocational profiles, treatment plan development, documentation, sample forms, and a bibliography. Standards of Practice is a critical resource for everyone designing or implementing an AAA/T program!
Please contact us if you are having trouble developing an AAA/AAT Policies and Procedures Manual. We can provide you with sample policies and procedues. Also available is a copy of our Pet Partners Volunteer Policies and Procedures.
Step 3: Register your Facility
Download the Facility Registration Packet or the Hospice Registration Packet and send the completed packet to the following address:
Attn: Facilities Program Coordinator
875 124th Ave NE, Ste 101
Bellevue, WA 98005-2531
The option of a Two-Year Pet Partners Facility Registration includes ($150):
- A copy of Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities/Therapy which provides guidance in administrative structure: standards of practice, personnel credentials and vocational profiles, treatment plan development, documentation, sample forms and bibliography - A critical resource for everyone designing or implementing an AAA/T program!
- A copy of Animal-Assisted Therapy – Therapeutic Interventions. This publication includes sample treatment plans and AAT interventions in education, mental health, occupational therapy, therapeutic recreation, physical therapy and stress management. Includes professional journal articles, resources and bibliography.
- A certificate of recognition to display at your facility.
- A door decal to indicate you are a member facility.
- Two year listing in a Facility Database Directory. Teams are matched to your facility based on environmental dynamics. Placement of teams is based on availability. Teams may not be available in all areas.
- Two years of Pet Partners' publication “Interactions” plus informational mailings and updates to keep you informed of current AAA/T skills and issues, research, conferences and additional trainings.
- Access to resources, people and experts in the field to assist you with your AAA/T program needs.
- Access to the Members Only section of the Pet Partners website for updates, news and announcements.
Step 4: Recruit Therapy Animal Teams
Once you have completed your Registration Packet and have received a Facility Acceptance Package, you can now begin recruiting local therapy animal teams. To find teams, search our Affiliate directory to see if there is a local group of volunteers in your geographic area and/or search individual teams in our Therapy Animal Team directory. The Therapy Animal Team directory is only available to Registered Facilities and requires logging in to view. You may also contact our Facilities Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
PLEASE NOTE: Facilities that want to benefit in from therapy animal visits from registered Pet Partners teams but that aren’t able to pay the registration fee can still participate by completing the contact information/policy agreement form and submitting the forms to Pet Partners. Although these facilities will not receive the above items, we can still refer members to you if teams are looking for a facility to visit in your area. For more information, please contact our Facilities Program Coordinator at email@example.com.