Visiting will go smoother and be more relaxing if you know your facility. Knowing their expectations of you, the physical layout of the building, important policies that may affect your visits will enable you to be more comfortable and more effective when you visit. Asking questions to know the facility is a great way for all the learn.
The following is a list for you to “check out” before visiting in a facility:
• What is expected of me? What kind of visiting will I be doing? How many people will I be visiting and how long am I expected to spend with each one?
• What kind of clients will I be visiting? Do any of the clients have behavior concerns, or are on behavior modification programs that I need to know about? Do any of the clients have unpredictable behavior? What time do people go to bed?
Physical Building and Facility
• Where do I sign in and out? In what areas should my visits take place? What areas are off limits? Where do I leave my coat, shoes, purse, and personal belongings? Where can I park? Where are the washrooms for me and my animal?
• Who will introduce me to my clients? Will anyone come with me for a visit? Who is my contact? How do I keep in touch with my contact? Is staff supportive of the animals in the facility?
Risk Management/Animal Welfare
• Is my animal allowed on the beds and furniture? If yes, do I need a blanket under it? What procedure should I follow in case of a fire drill? What do I do if my animal has an “accident”? What do I do if a resident is scratched or injured by my animal during a visit?