Dr Mirena Dimolareva, Lecturer in Psychology at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), together with colleagues and the University of Lincoln and Virginia Commonwealth University, USA has published a risk assessment tool for animal-assisted interventions in any settings.
The tool is free to use for staff and practitioners nationally and internationally, in any setting (including education, nursing homes, hospitals) and aims to provide unified, standardised guidelines for animal-assisted therapy as well as animal-assisted interventions and activities. It is a comprehensive tool which takes into consideration the animal and human care and welfare.
Speaking following the publication, Dr Dimolareva discussed what drove the research and what users could expect from the new tool:
“Animal-Assisted Interventions in various settings have become extremely popular in recent years. Most often, therapy dog visits are organised for hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other educational settings with some scientific research showing beneficial effects. Other animals such as cats and reptiles also provide visits, but the beneficial effects are less known.
As a new area of work and research there is lack of clarity around these visits and interventions. Furthermore, thorough risk assessments which consider all involved- the service users, staff, therapy animals and handlers are often overlooked.
This free-to-use detailed Risk Assessment Tool was created to provide information on the risk related to Animal-Assisted Interventions as well as a Risk Assessment Template for any setting. The aim is to unify the field and thoroughly consider the safety and well-being of all involved.
It is flexible and easy to use, providing the opportunity to incorporate procedures and protocols relevant to the different institutions hosting the animals and handlers.”
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