Service Dogs Allowed in ISO?

  1. Ambulance allowed 2 small service animals to be transported with patient from quick care, to ER for chest pain, hypertension & possible (MRSA) pneumonia.

    Now that the patient is admitted into an isolation room for MRSA rule out, the charge RN is saying the service animals are not allowed in isolation rooms, per hospital policy.

    So, my question is now that the animals are already admitted under quarantine, should the hospital be allowed to forcefully evict the animals? Can the patient be discharged if refuses to remove the animals (no where for the dogs to go). Aren't they contagious to humans now too? How are service animals regulated to "potty" in hospitals usually? Why would isolation affect their privileges? With it being NYE today, should the hospital wait until after the holiday (1/2/18) to evict the animals? And to where should they go? Animal Control? A veterinarian? By then the MRSA tests should be back then too, so wouldnt it be best to just wait?

    What say you AN?
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  2. Poll: At this point, the hospital should:

    • Just wait until MRSA test comes back, then d/c the patient & her dogs

      69.23% 9
    • Call animal control even though they are busy with NYE

      15.38% 2
    • Discharge both patient and her animals for noncompliance

      15.38% 2
    • Have patient sign a refusal of treatment form & give dogs Chucks in bathroom

      0% 0
    • Get a veterinarian consulted to come test the dogs prior to release to animal control

      0% 0
    13 Votes / Multiple Choice
  3. 34 Comments

  4. by   JBudd
    Our newly written service dog policy says the pt and family are responsible for taking the animal out and cleaning up after it. If there is no one? I really don't know. I don't think the dogs are going to spread MRSA, as they shouldn't really be in contact with anyone else (You are all in PPE, right?). Does the pt have a pastor you could call on?

    I personally would just take the dogs outside myself, but I'm used to cleaning up after dogs. If you send them with animal control there would be a fine to get them back. I would also volunteer to take them home, but that's just me, I have space and dogs.

    Good luck in this conundrum!
  5. by   blondy2061h
    2 service dogs? I smell BS
  6. by   MunoRN
    It would extremely unusual for a person to have 2 "service" dogs, it's not at all unusual for a person to have two "therapy" dogs or emotional support dogs. There is no such thing legally as therapy dogs or emotional support dogs although people often try to conflate them with legally protected service animals, even to the point of putting official looking vests and there are groups out there that promote people taking advantage of ADA service animal protections by pretending to have a service animal.
  7. by   hppygr8ful
    I think you have to ask if these are Service dogs which are protected under the American's with disabilities act or certified companion animals which do not have legal protection. At the psych hospital where I work we routinely have dogs that belong to elderly or homeless patients. They stay on the CEO's private patio and are brought in to an unused Dr.'s lounge at night. They can't be on the unit due to some safety issues.

    As another poster said if time allowed I would probably take the dogs out or offer to take them home. Sending they to a shelter runs the risk of them being euthanized. Possibly try to locate a friend or family member to take the dogs back a forth. Dogs are not known to be zoonotic carrier's of MRSA so there's little danger of contamination especially if the infection is isolated to a wound or urinary tract. Plus 15% of the population are walking around colonized with MRSA anyway so as long as everyone is using universal precautions what's the deal.

    I suspect the charge nurse in question does not like dogs in the first place. Maybe see's them as dirty or dangerous and would rather not deal with it.

    I have been campaigning to raise a puppy on my adolescent unit for about a year. The dog would go home with me at nights but would be on the unit during the day. It's amazing to me how closed minded my colleagues have been about the cleared evidenced based value of service animals.

    Anyway just my two cents.

    Hppy
  8. by   MunoRN
    I've worked at a couple of hospitals that a volunteer program set up to take care of dogs belonging to patients, whether they brought them in with them or if the dog was left home. This is actually a pretty important thing, in my experience having left a dog at home alone is the most common reason my patients go AMA. At one facility the "pet-care" program was actually in the on-call directory.

    If it is a true service animal, then we don't prohibit the dog from being with the patient, even if the patient is in isolation since that doesn't really make any difference in terms of the dog.
  9. by   elkpark
    In the medical center at which I'm employed, the only way people can have animals of any kind in the room is if the client (or a family member) is responsible for taking the animal outside for toileting. Nursing staff take no responsibility and do not get involved. It's not allowed by the hospital policy even if they want to.
  10. by   amoLucia
    Another issue with animal care is the feeding of the animal. I doubt that there are many facilities that have spare bags of P Dog Chow in the pantry!

    I commend those facilities of which PP Munro comments that had the sensible foresight to establish some type of animal care contingencies.

    I wonder if there might be some type of "good will" program with a local veterinary practice that could temporarily 'board' a pt's pet.

    There might be some question re immunizations, safety, etc but for short term, the cost of care could be a 'write off' program.

    But there still remains the in-house facility issue of WHO can take the time to care for 'animals' when time for 'people pts' is so strained.

    To hppy - I doubt that that charge nurse was unfeeling. But without established guidelines, I can see her facing real problems for having staff to care for 'pets'.
  11. by   Emergent
    I'm a dog lover who is sick of these ridiculous service dog scams.

    I am a landlady and had a prospective tenant at the last minute tell me his girlfriend has 2 service dogs, trying to weedle his way into the no dogs rental house.

    I said "What does the dog do?". He said that one of the dogs is very old and has seizures. The younger dog alerts them about those seizures.

    Yeah, right...
  12. by   blondy2061h
    Quote from Emergent
    I'm a dog lover who is sick of these ridiculous service dog scams.

    I am a landlady and had a prospective tenant at the last minute tell me his girlfriend has 2 service dogs, trying to weedle his way into the no dogs rental house.

    I said "What does the dog do?". He said that one of the dogs is very old and has seizures. The younger dog alerts them about those seizures.

    Yeah, right...
    Yeah, all the laws about service dogs being allowed entry anywhere, not needing any specific certification or registration, and not needing a vest were all originally meant to help legitimate service dog handlers. Now it's gotten out of hand with scammers trying to work the system with poorly behaved pets. It hurts the legit people that need them. We need tighter regulation.
  13. by   Horseshoe
    Emotional support animals are legally protected in two ways: in travel, such as on airplanes, and in housing. Many people with these ESAs bank on the fact that stores, restaurant staff, and others don't know the laws with regard to these animals, so they get away with insisting that they are legally entitled to bring them anywhere.
  14. by   klone
    It makes me so happy to see how many here are knowledgeable about the laws with regards to ADA service dogs, and "therapy pets" and the differences between them.
  15. by   Emergent
    Quote from klone
    It makes me so happy to see how many here are knowledgeable about the laws with regards to ADA service dogs, and "therapy pets" and the differences between them.
    As far as I'm concerned, all pets are for emotional support. My dogs are better friends than any human could be. That doesn't mean the whole world needs to put up with them. Not everyone likes dogs.

    Everyone wants accommodation for all their eccentricities these days, to hell with other people! Americans tend to generally be self centered. It's obnoxious.

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