Pets can play an important role in an individual's recovery and overall healing process, which is why the University of Maryland Medical Center takes pride in offering the Patient's Personal Pet Visitation Program as a safe process through which family members can schedule visits for their loved ones' pets to visit them during their hospitalization.
You and the person responsible for coordinating your pet's visit are asked to follow the policy explained below. This policy was developed so that your visit with your pet is safe and enjoyable for both of you. The Patient's Personal/Family Pet Visitation is coordinated by Pastoral Care Services. A chaplain is available twenty-four hours to answer questions and assist you in making preparations to receive a visit from your pet.
Reverend Susan Roy, Director of the Department of Pastoral Care Services, also manages the Personal Pet Visitation at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Request a Visit from Your Pet
To request a visit from your pet (dog/cat):
- Contact Pastoral Care Services Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling (410) 328-6014. During all other hours, ask your nurse to page the chaplain and request information for a pet visit.
- The physician must write an order for the pet to visit.
- Have your veterinarian complete the Family Pet (Dog/Cat) Visitation Program Health Certificate and return the form to Pastoral Care Services at least 24 hours prior to the pet visit.
- Make sure you have received, completed and returned the Release from Responsibility Waiver: Family Pet (Dog/Cat) Visitation to Pastoral Care Services.
Prior to the Hospital Visit
- Prior to the visit, talk with the Chaplain to arrange the date, time and location of the pet visit. It is best to arrange the visit during off-peak hours such as evenings and weekends.
- Check the pet's overall health and attitude. Observe the pet prior to a scheduled visit to be sure the pet is feeling well enough for the visit.
- Bathe and groom the pet within 24 hours prior to the visit. Make sure that the pet is free of fleas and ticks. The pet should wear a coat or t-shirt to reduce shedding and dander. The pet's nails should be trimmed. Pets are to be crated, if possible, and the crate covered, to reduce exposure to pet hair and dander.
- If your pet is a dog, walk him or her in the park directly across from the hospital (above the Redwood garage) and encourage urination prior to entering the hospital. Please bring a plastic bag or proper equipment for disposal of waste.
- Avoid feeding the pet within two (2) hours of the visit or limit the amount.
- Meet the Pastoral Care escort at the agreed upon time and location. The chaplain will escort you through a specific entrance and areas of decreased traffic flow to ensure the safety of your pet. If you are unable to keep your appointment to visit, please contact the patient's nurse and ask that they cancel the chaplain escort.
- It may be necessary to step off an elevator if it becomes crowded.
- Your pet is here to visit you; not other patients or visitors.
During the Hospital Visit
- Be on time for the scheduled visit.
- Transport the pet in a pet carrier if possible and leash dogs at all times. Throughout the visit, the pet must remain under your supervision at all times. Do not tie the pet to equipment or furniture or hand the leash to other people.
- The chaplain will post a sign on the door requesting that staff and visitors check with the nurse prior to entering the room.
- You must always stay with the pet and be in control of the situation.
- If the pet is going to be placed on the bed, place another sheet (provided for you) on the bed.
- If the pet has an accident while in the hospital, please clean it up immediately:
- Soak up pet urine using paper towels and pick up the soaked paper towels or excrement using a plastic bag. Invert the bag, tie securely and place in the trash.
- Wash your hands immediately.
- Ask the Pastoral Care escort or the patient's nurse to notify housekeeping.
- Wash your hands at the end of the visit and before leaving the patient's room.
- When you are ready to leave the patient's room, ask the nurse to page the Pastoral Care escort who will escort you out of the Medical Center using designated routes. Allow 15 minutes for the Pastoral Care escort to be notified.