School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Medical and Health Sciences
Professor Jenni Judd, Professor Tania Signal
Doctor of Philosophy

Research Details

Thesis Name

What are the policies and practices for Animal Assisted Activities in Australian Residential Aged Care: How might they affect residents and animals?

Thesis Abstract

Including animals in residential aged care facilities (RACF) is not new. However, there are risks to residents (zoonosis and allergies or phobias, slips, trips and falls or bites and most likely scratches and skin tears) and animals (fear, physical injury or other welfare issues). It is unknown how Australian RACFs manage animal-assisted activities (AAA) in their facilities or if there are policies and guidelines to direct these interactions. Using an exploratory mixed methods design Australian RACF managers and staff who are also knowledgeable animal people are being asked about the current policies and practices (for AAA in RACF) and what these policies and practices should look like in the future. Australian Federal aged care legislation is also being explored to identify if and how it supports the inclusion of animals in RACF. The results of this project will provide a better understanding of how Australian RACFs manage AAA and highlight areas of need for animal policy development with RACF.

Why my research is important/impacts.

The research will highlight areas of need for animal policy in RACFs. There are indications of few guidelines for animals in Australian RACFs, and this research may support the development of a National Guideline for Animals in Australian RACF.


Commonwealth Government’s Research Training Program/Research Training Scheme.

The Australian Nurses Memorial Centre Betty Cuthbertson Scholarship