3 tips on caring for patients with service dogs

With more than 500,000 service dogs currently registered in the U.S., many nurses are bound to encounter these canine companions while on the job, reports NurseDaily.

The publication shared three tips for nurses on how to communicate with and care for patients with a service dog:

1. Make sure you understand the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA forbids nurses from asking patients with a service dog about their disability. Instead, nurses can ask the following two questions:

  • Is your animal required because of a disability?
  • If so, what tasks is your service dog trained to do for you?

2. Always protect your patient's rights. Nurses' primary responsibility is to protect the rights of the patient with a disability. However, they must also ensure the patient maintains appropriate control of the dog in the healthcare setting.

3. Check your facility's safety guidelines. Many healthcare facilities have specific safety guidelines for service dogs, which may restrict the animals from entering sterile areas such as operating rooms or laboratories.

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