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The guidelines and policies that influence the conduct of animal-assisted activities in residential aged-care facilities: A systematic integrative review
journal contributionposted on 06.10.2021, 01:43 authored by Wendy Newton, Tania SignalTania Signal, Jennifer JuddJennifer Judd
Introduction: For some time, Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) have incorporated animals into their environment to relieve loneliness and isolation for aged-care residents. However, research examining this practice is not as developed. This paper aims to identify the policies and practices influencing the conduct of Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) in RACF focusing on the Australian context. Methods: Peer-reviewed and gray literature were searched using an array of databases including CINAHL; Embase; Medline; Pubmed; Scopus and Web of Science; Google Scholar; PROSPERO, Proquest Dissertations; Theses Global; Animal Studies Repository; Medicine and Health Science Commons; Open Gray and a targeted Google search for relevant Australian Guidelines. Database searches had no time limits. Nine documents published between 1990 and 2018 were identified, appraised and subsequently included in the analysis. Results: Facilities have not developed or implemented core policies; instead, there appears to be a reliance on AAA providers ensuring resident safety. Animal welfare is also identified as an emerging area, warranting further action and policy development. Conclusion: The requirement for effective AAA policies for RACF staff continues to be an area of need. Over the last 30 years, the development of policies guiding the provision of animal activities within RACFs has been inconsistent in both content and application, including the implementation of basic hygiene policies. If the international situation is indicative, further work is needed in Australia to develop and enforce infection control, risk management and animal welfare policies in RACF and AAA organizations. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO registration # CRD42020150440.