The main reason for a PAT Dog to require access to the hospital is so they can act as a therapy tool to aid recovery and patient experience for patients using ASPH sites.

The main reason for a Guide Dog to require access to the hospital is because they act as a mobility tool to support their owners to access ASPH services as a patient.

There will be occasions where it is not appropriate for such animals to be permitted to enter an area within the hospital on the grounds of Health and Safety.

The value of pet ‘therapy’ is widely accepted as a powerful aid to stimulation and communication. Studies have shown that the presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of patients and lower the rate of anxiety, simply by making the hospital environment happier, more enjoyable and less forbidding.

To minimise the risk to patients in hospital, animals are not allowed on the Trust’s premises. The definition of animals includes all pets including insects, fish and birds. The only exceptions to this rule are guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf and dogs which belong to the Pets As Therapy (PAT) scheme.

When PAT dogs are allowed on hospital premises, the animal’s owner and health care workers must ensure that the animal is not a nuisance to other patients and that it does not interfere with patient care.

If any patients object to the animals presence then arrangements must be made to ensure that this animal is kept away from them. If necessary, the animal may need exclusion from specific clinical areas.

It is required to check that all animals visiting patients within the ASPH are within the following recommended guidelines documented within this policy.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Emily Sturman, Team Lead Speech and Language Therapist
With acknowledgement to: Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, South London NHS Healthcare Trust
Ratified by: DTC and ICP
Date Ratified: June 2023
Date Issued: July 2023
Review Date: July 2026
Target Audience: ASPH Foundation Trust
Contact name: Emily Sturman


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