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Ensuring Safety When Pets Are in the Home

Lombardo, Susan, PhD, RN; Schmitz, Kendra, MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000738

This article discusses safety issues involved when home healthcare clinicians visit the homes of patients with pets, particularly cats and dogs. Threats to the safety of home care clinicians are explored and concerns such as animal bites, animal scratches, and infection control are detailed in this article. Although it is acknowledged that pets can provide positive health benefits to owners, the focus is on the responsibility of the pet owners to secure pets when clinicians visit in order to keep the clinician and patient safe during the home visit. A proposed Pet Policy Agreement is presented whereby the pet owner as patient bears some responsibility for ensuring the safety of home healthcare clinicians.

Susan Lombardo, PhD, RN, is a Clinical Associate Professor, School of Nursing, D'Youville College, Buffalo, New York.

Kendra Schmitz, MSN, RN, is a Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, D'Youville College, Buffalo, New York.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Address for correspondence: Susan Lombardo, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, D'Youville College, 320 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 (

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