(Hosey et al. 2018) “Animal-assisted intervention in the ICU: a tool for humanization” (as referenced below). As described in their abstract:
- designating a champion who is consistently present in the ICU with established credibility to create systematic change;
- having clear program goals with milestones and measurable outcomes, such as a. improving patient mood, b. improving engagement in medical care and rehabilitation therapies, and c. reducing perceived pain;
- including stakeholders who can help identify and surmount barriers to implementation, such as risk management and hospital epidemiology and infection control staff;
- identifying animal teams and partnering them with an organization that has credibility in training teams for the hospital environment, such as Pet Partners, Inc. (https://petpartners.org/) and Assistance Dogs International (https://assistancedogsinternational.org);
- creating a policy that a. establishes goals of the program, b. outlines roles/responsibilities for all involved in the program, c. outlines logistics of animal visits, d. specifies what do in the event of an accident, and e. establishes a plan for program evaluation; and
- launching the program with patients who have a high likelihood of success, such as patients without delirium, communicable disease, or the need for contact precautions due to colonization with a drug-resistant microorganism, to build confidence and create momentum for the program.