Pets Are Wonderful Supports…Usually: Ethical, Legal and Practical Implications of Emotional Support, Service and Therapy Animals in Oncology Settings
This webinar, featuring Christina Bach, MSW, MBE, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, was recorded in February 2020. Companion animals play important roles in many individuals' lives. Some animals also have jobs: as service animals, therapy animals and emotional support animals. But as more animals are in public settings, guidelines, regulations and policies for how to handle these "working animals" have become increasingly muddy. As social workers, we may be asked to write letters on behalf of our clients to justify a need for an emotional support animal-but do we even know what this means? Do our clients? Are we putting ourselves at risk ethically and legally by writing these letters? Can we be better advocates for establishing visiting animal programs in our treatment centers to help our patients cope with their treatments? How do we interpret the ADA and other laws to guide our practice?
This webinar will unpack the nuances between service, therapy and emotional support animals and how, why, and where they are legally permitted to work. We will then shift to talk about the legal and ethical quandaries social workers may face when asked to write letters for our clients and use case examples to highlight some of the challenges we may face in our clinical practice. Finally, a framework for intervention and education at micro and macro levels will be presented for participants to think about how they can influence policy and procedure at their own treatment centers.
Eligible for CE credit upon successful completion of a quiz.