A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab

Six Tips For Helping a Senior in Short Term Care Enjoy a Visit With a Beloved Pet


Helpful tipsToday, a growing number of medical authorities recognize value in encouraging loved ones and pets to visit patients undergoing short-term senior care. These reunions usually raise the spirits of elderly patients. A patient may feel inspired to recover faster in order to return home and resume caring for a beloved four-footed companion, for example.

Visitors need to exercise care in bringing a patient’s cat or dog to a residential facility. A frightened pet might run away from the unfamiliar location in panic. In some cases, the arrival of a companion animal disrupts scheduled patient activities or therapies. This brief article offers six tips for anyone arranging for a pet to visit an ailing senior.

  1. Check the facility rules first. Before bringing a patient’s dog or cat to a care center, always confirm that the facility permits visits with companion animals.
  2. Provide sufficient advance notice. Let people caring for the senior know about your plans to sponsor a pet visit beforehand. By making advance arrangements, you’ll ensure the arrival of the dog or cat does not cause inconvenience to others.
  3. Transport pets appropriately. You’ll want to ensure the pet arrives safely at the care facility. Consider using a secure travel crate to help transport animals in your vehicle. In the case of cats or small dogs, it usually proves helpful to escort the pet to (and from) the patient’s room using the carrying crate with the permission of the facility. Many pets easily become frightened in medical settings. Some fear wheelchairs, for example. A portable crate and/or a leash help ensure a beloved companion animal won’t dart away during transit.
  4. Only bring a vaccinated, healthy pet to visit a patient. Visiting pets require current rabies vaccinations to safeguard human health, of course. Additionally, sometimes therapy dogs or cats reside full-time in short term care establishments. You’ll want to ensure the patient’s pet does not endanger the health of any other animals already living at the site.
  5. Always identify the pet by using a collar with tags and/or a microchip. If a patient’s dog or cat does get loose during a visit, identifying information improves the chances of recovering the pet successfully.
  6. Keep visits brief. While seeing their pets again delights most patients, these types of reunions sometimes prove tiring for ailing seniors.
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