Animals Visiting in Healthcare Facilities

Kathleen (Kit) Darling, MS, CIC Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Texas A & M University
College Station, TX

October 2, 2014
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Kathleen (Kit) Darling currently serves on the board of directors for Aggieland Pets With A Purpose (President) and Aggieland Humane Society. No financial compensation is received.


People benefit from human–animal interaction socially, psychologically, and physiologically. In healthcare-related situations, programs for animal visitation, animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy, and service animals are intended to assist in returning patients to wellness and independence. Healthcare facilities must establish animal and handler guidelines and program-specific infection prevention policies to provide a safe environment for animals, handlers, and patients. Healthcare providers need to understand and abide by the laws for service animals and persons with disabilities.