The purpose of the pet therapy program at Frankfort Regional Medical Center is to provide therapeutic opportunities for patients to interact with a therapy animal. Therapy animals provide companionship, which help humans form therapeutic bonds, therefore providing physical, psychological and social benefits. Pet therapy may provide essential companionship and emotional needs to those with a variety of mental and/or physical illnesses, both children and/or adults.

Who can get a dog visit?

Hospitalized patients can get a visit if approved by their nurse and/or physician. For pediatrics patients, visits must also be approved by the parent/guardian. Currently, the dogs may visit only specific areas of the hospital.

What happens during a dog visit?

Once the visit has been approved, the patient decides how he or she wants to interact with the dog. The dogs may sit on the floor, a chair, or on a clean sheet on the patient's bed. The patient may pet, play with, talk to, or watch the dog. Patient's visitors (friends and family) are encouraged to interact with the therapy dogs as well. However, at no time may food be offered to any of the therapy dogs during a visit, unless approved by the handler.

How long are the visits?

The length of each visit varies depending on the number of patients to be visited that day, the preferences of the patient, and any of the patient's healthcare needs (such as scheduled tests or procedures). Visits typically last between 5 and 10 minutes.

How often do the dogs visit the hospital?

Each dog and handler makes their patient "rounds" as their schedules allow, which may average to once or twice a week. If the patient requests, the dog may make a "bed visit" (the dog lays on a clean sheet on the bed) so the patient may easily pet the dog.

Who owns the dogs?

Frankfort Regional Medical Center volunteers from the community own the dogs. The dogs live with their family and visit the hospital with their owner. The dogs do not live at the hospital.

Can my own dog visit?

Only dogs and volunteers who meet the hospital's requirements and have gone through the application process may visit. (Please note that these requirements do not apply to service dogs, which are allowed in the hospital.)

Can I get a visit from another kind of pet?

Frankfort Regional Medical Center's staff carefully reviewed available information to assure that the dog visits can occur in a hospital without increasing the chances of passing germs to patients. Unfortunately, this type of information is not currently available for other types of pets, which is why only dogs are allowed to visit with patients at this time.

If you have any questions about the Pet Therapy Program requirements or application process, please contact Diane Dominick, Volunteer Director at (502) 226-7892.