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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions

Appendix III:
Planning Strategy For Beginning a PFT Program

I. NEEDS ASSESSMENT

  1. Definition - a structured planning technique to identify priorities based on data.

  2. Does a need for a PFT program exist?:
    1. In the community? Why? What is it?
    2. In the organization to be served? Why? What is it?
    3. In the agency providing the services? Why? What is it?
    4. On the individual level? Why? What is it?
      1. Conduct a functional and personality assessment: make sure this therapy fits this person’s needs.

  3. What types of programs are available?

  4. Assess community needs and resources
    1. Surveys: identify your universe and design a survey instrument
    2. Census data
    3. Social support network

  5. Cost-benefit ratio
    1. On the program’s own
    2. In comparison with alternative therapies/activities

  6. Input
    1. From staff and administration
    2. From residents and patients

II. GOAL-SETTING

  1. Establish realistic goals and objectives

  2. Develop reasonable measurement indicators
    1. Examples: changes in drug dependency, blood pressure, social interaction, speaking length or content, suicide rates, survival rates, recidivism, Pet Attitude Inventory
    2. Chart participation in activities

III. DEVELOP A CHANGE STRATEGY TO GAIN ACCEPTANCE

  1. Typical sources of resistance to PFT programs:
    1. Insurance/legal considerations
    2. Housekeeping/staff support
    3. Families/lack of education
    4. Local and/or state health codes/real or perceived
    5. Stasis: human nature’s reluctance to change

  2. Reasons for this resistance:
    1. Lack of accurate information or resources for help
    2. No forum for interaction
    3. Practical health concerns
    4. Unwillingness to pioneer
    5. Bureaucracy
    6. Failure to communicate
    7. Resistance to communicate
    8. Inadequate staff or resources for start-up

  3. Criteria which can affect change
    1. A neutral forum environment
    2. A wide spectrum of representative perspectives involved
    3. Engage in problem-oriented discussion
    4. Recognize interdependence of organizations involved
    5. Initiate demonstration/pilot projects
    6. Identify resources and services for referral and help
    7. Further research can encourage the hesitant

IV. PROGRAMMATIC CONSIDERATIONS

A. The institution/agency to be served

  1. Identify the population to be served
    1. Any limiting physical/psychological factors?
    2. Who would/would not benefit?
    3. Who would/would not want animals?
    4. What pet preferences are currently exist?

  2. Define the nature of the treatment or residency
    1. Establish appropriate time schedules
    2. Establish appropriate site locations
    3. Determine whether visitation or residency is more appropriate

  3. Determine available resources
    1. Financial (monetary and in-kind contributions)
    2. Personnel (staff and volunteer)
    3. Professional expertise and referral
    4. Physical facilities and equipment

  4. Define organizational infrastructure and assign appropriate personnel to coordinate and supervise

  5. Establish degree of commitment at all levels of staff including management

B. The institution/agency providing the service

  1. Identify the animal population involved
    1. Any physical or behavioural limitations?
    2. Breed and species availability and suitability

  2. Define the nature of the service program
    1. Establish appropriate time schedules
    2. Establish appropriate site locations

  3. Determine available resources
    1. Financial (monetary and in-kind contributions)
    2. Personnel (staff and volunteer)
    3. Professional expertise and referral
    4. Physical facilities and equipment

  4. Define organizational infrastructure and assign appropriate personnel to coordinate and supervise

  5. Establish degree of commitment

C. Legal considerations

  1. Applicable state and local ordinances

  2. Applicable health codes

  3. Insurance exposure and liability
    1. Normal coverage/Workmen’s Compensation
    2. Supplementary/volunteer coverage
    3. Option of signing hold-harmless agreements

D. Personnel

  1. Supervision and utilization of paid staff

  2. Volunteers
    1. Establish program, identify components before recruiting
    2. Recruitment
    3. Screening
    4. Selection
    5. Training policies, program, procedures, rules and regulations, directions, etc.
    6. Motivating and sustaining
    7. Supervision
    8. Record keeping
    9. Recognition

  3. Publish job descriptions and guidelines

E. Animal selection

  1. Include veterinarians on the team as caregivers of animal health and protectors of human health.

  2. Choose appropriate animals
    1. Be creative but realistic
    2. Exclude dangerous animals
    3. Prepare to chart medical health: examine animals prior to program

  3. Considerations in animal selection:
    1. Species
    2. Breed (likelihood of behavioural, temperament, grooming and allergenic problems)
    3. Size
    4. Hardiness: potential for injury by humans
    5. Age/lifespan
    6. Sex and reproduction
      1. Male territorial marking
      2. Female submissive urination
      3. Sterilization may be indicated
      4. Individual behaviour, temperament and personality
      5. Housebreaking capabilities
      6. Potential for injury to recipient

    7. Develop a health care plan
      1. Regular inoculations and disease prevention
      2. Oral hygiene, ecto- and endo-parasites

    8. Training and behaviour modification

    9. Regular grooming for reduction of disease and allergies

F. Zoonotic considerations

  1. Allergies

  2. Zoonotic diseases

  3. Physical injuries (bites, scratches, falls)

  4. Environmental health
    1. Determine animal’s access to sterile or sanitary areas
    2. Establish procedure for noise, odour, and hair
    3. Establish clean-up procedures
    4. Compliance with local animal control ordinances

G. Psycho-social considerations

  1. Establish appropriate level of compassion-with detachment

  2. Train personnel to deal with institutional concerns (rights of privacy, individual and group reactions to institution, photographic rights)

  3. Train personnel to contend with emotional responses (ageing, loss of freedom, feelings of rejection, potential for abuse, anger denial redirected at animal or program, self-pity, etc.)

  4. Train personnel to identify and target emotional attachments
    1. Patient to pet
    2. Pet to patient
    3. Program provider to patient
    4. Death of the patient
    5. Death of the pet / Pet leaving institution

H. Financial considerations

  1. Budget anticipated costs

    1. Animal
      1. Acquisition
      2. Maintenance (food, shelter, veterinary, accessories and supplies)
      3. Housing
    2. Personnel (additional, overtime, training)
    3. Operational expenses (vehicles, uniforms, etc.)
    4. Administrative (insurance)

  2. Budget revenue and sources of income
    1. Fees for services may be charged
    2. Products produced by program
    3. Research and program grants from human services or animal-related foundations
    4. Solicit contributions and donations
    5. Solicit in-kind contributions (manpower, equipment)
    6. PFT can be a marketing tool to generate business for the program or agency

I. Public relations

  1. To defuse opposition or damage control

  2. To promote positive nature of program

J. Animal welfare

  1. Basic needs of animal(s) -- food, water, shelter, rest, solitude, veterinary care (routine and emergency)

  2. Potential for abuse, trauma, stress and fatigue

  3. Common problems
    1. Obesity
    2. Weekend care
    3. Behavioural stress: no defined leader, no escape from humans

V. WRITE PROTOCOL

  1. Statement of goals and objectives

  2. Statement of level of commitment and procedure upon termination

  3. New organization may require by-laws, constitution, officers, and/or articles of incorporation

  4. Pet policy

VI. IMPLEMENT PROGRAM

  1. Secure and train appropriate personnel

  2. Assign responsibilities

  3. Initiate awareness program for targeted populations and others involved

  4. Obtain and train animal(s)

  5. Establish schedules and routines, especially for off-times

VII. DOCUMENTATION AND EVALUATION - data-based and anecdotal

  1. Performance indicators

  2. Charting
    1. Veterinary health
    2. Human health/psychological-psychiatric
    3. Nutritional
    4. Activities/social participation/exercise

  3. Written policies and procedures - amend as needed

  4. Periodic evaluations

  5. Budgets

  6. Personnel records

  7. Thank-yous where appropriate