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Service Animals at Compass Memorial Healthcare

Patient safety is our top priority at Compass Memorial Healthcare. We ask that our patients and visitors respect our facility's guidelines when bringing service animals to our hospital or clinics. Below you will find a list of common questions and answers that explain our guidelines associated with service animals.

What is a service animal?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These task(s) performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person's disability.

Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort by being with a person. If the animal has not been trained to perform a specific job or task related to the individual's disability, then the animal does not qualify as a service animal under the ADA.

Any person who knowingly misrepresents an animal as a service animal or a service animal-in-training, is, upon conviction, guilty of a simple misdemeanor.

Can I bring my service animal to my appointment, emergency department, or inpatient stay?

Compass Memorial Healthcare welcomes your service animal into any of our facilities. However, your service animal must be healthy, clean (no fleas, ticks, or open sores), housebroken, under control (leash, harness, or other effective controls), and well-behaved (no uncontrolled barking, growling, baring teeth, or growling). In addition, there are areas within the facility where a service animal would be separated from the handler. In these cases, we ask that a support person cares for the animal during the test, treatment, or procedure.

Service animals will be asked to be removed from the facility in the event of the following:

The service animal is unable to be controlled by the handler. Examples of uncontrolled behaviors include uncontrolled barking, baring teeth, growling, snapping, or biting.

The service animal is not housebroken or is incontinent in the facility.

The service animal has poor hygiene (fleas, open wounds, etc.)

The service animal is ill-appearing (vomiting, coughing, diarrhea, etc.)

The service animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

The handler does not have a support person to care for the service animal during the test, treatment, or procedure.
If the service animal bites or scratches another person, we will follow local and state reporting requirements.

Are there locations within the facility where my service animals are not allowed?

Service animals are not allowed in areas where they are a risk to patients or themselves. These areas include but are not limited to:

Operating room/surgical suites or any areas where an invasive procedure is being performed

MRI machines

Clean and sterile supply areas

Food prep areas

Any area within the Compass Memorial facilities where an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other persons or alters the nature of the services provided.

Does the service animal need to be on a leash?

Service animals should be controlled with a leash, harness, or tether. If the handler is unable to hold a leash, or if the leash would prevent the animal from performing its task, the service animal must be under your control through voice or hand commands at all times. It is important to communicate with anyone who approaches your service animal that they may be interfering with your service animal's ability to perform its duties.

Who is responsible for the care of the service animal during a visit or hospital stay?

The patient or a designee is responsible for feeding, toileting, and caring for the service animal. Staff at Compass Memorial are not responsible to watch over or otherwise care for the service animal. For the safety of the service animal, we will ask for the name of a person to contact in the event of an emergency who would be unable to care for the service animal.

Are there pet relief areas for service animals at any of the locations?

There is not a designated dog walking or relief area at any of our locations, however, we ask that you pick up any solid waste in a plastic bag and dispose of it in an outside trash can. We ask that you supply your own plastic bags for solid waste.