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Pets Are Wonderful Supports…Usually
Christina Bach, MSW, MBE, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
Recorded on February 6, 2020
Pets Are Wonderful Supports…Usually: Ethical, Legal and Practical Implications of Emotional Support, Service and Therapy Animals in Oncology Settings
About this Live Interactive Webinar
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.
At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to:
- Differentiate between service, therapy and emotional support animals and provide education to patients, caregivers and staff about the important differences between each of these classifications.
- Describe the ethical and legal challenges posed by emotional support animal verification letter requests.
- Develop a plan for addressing emotional support animal requests with their own clients as well as work with their agency and the local veterinary community to build interprofessional relationships that support patient’s needs and the human-animal bond.
Christina Bach, MSW, MBE, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, is a clinical oncology social worker, bioethicist and social work educator. She is the psychosocial oncology content editor at Oncolink.org. She also serves as an instructor and field liaison at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and as a Financial and Insurance Specialist for the Cancer Support Community Helpline. Christina has practiced in oncology for over 20 years in inpatient and outpatient settings. She also works regularly with her two certified therapy dogs, Linus and Huck, in cancer treatment settings as well as in literacy programs at local libraries. She serves on the Board of Directors and as a therapy dog evaluator for Comfort Caring Canines, Inc. Christina also has experience in Veterinary Social Work and does consulting and teaching on the human-animal bond, pet loss and animal assisted interventions and therapy and animal ethics/welfare.
Continuing Education Credits
Level - Intermediate
Participants will earn 1.5 CE credits upon successful completion of a quiz and a post-webinar evaluation.
This course has been approved for 1.5 clinical continuing education clock hours.
12:00 p.m. - 12:25 p.m.: Differentiate between service, therapy and emotional support animals and provide education to patients, caregivers and staff about the important differences between each of these classifications.
12:26 p.m. - 12:48 p.m.: Describe the ethical and legal challenges posed by emotional support animal verification letter requests.
12:49 p.m.-1:09 p.m.: Develop a plan for addressing emotional support animal requests with their own clients as well as work with their agency and the local veterinary community to build interprofessional relationships that support patient’s needs and the human-animal bond.
1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Questions and Answers
ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORK BOARDS (ASWB): This organization, Association of Oncology Social Workers, ACE Approval #1351, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. AOSW maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 11/11/2019 - 11/11/2022. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.
NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT’S STATE BOARD FOR SOCIAL WORK:
Association of Oncology Social Work, Inc., SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0320.
GRIEVANCE POLICY: ASOW will comply with all legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in promotional activities, program content and in the treatment of program participants. The monitoring and assessment of compliance with these standards will be responsibility of the Education Director in consultation with the Education Chair and clinical director from committee. We do our best to anticipate problems and, when they do present themselves, will attempt to alleviate complaints as quickly as possible. When a complaint, either verbally or written, is received, the following guidelines are followed with respect to achieving resolution: (1) Complaints relative to a speaker or workshop leader, contents of instructional materials being presented, or an individual educational style being utilized, the individual voicing disapproval is requested to place his/her comments in writing. An AOSW representative will convey these comments to the speaker, assuring the confidentiality of the grieved individual. (2) If the complaint concerns a continuing education activity, its content, level of presentation, or facilities in which the event is being held, the representative in charge will attempt to resolve the matter as expeditiously as possible. If the offered resolution (resolutions offered may include, but not be limited to partial/full refund of registration fees paid; credit toward future event) not satisfactory to the individual filing the complaint, then further action may be taken as follows. (3) The individual is requested to place his/her complaint in writing to the attention of the Education Director, The Association of Oncology Social Work, 17W110 22nd St, Suite 800, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. The complaint is then reviewed by the Education Director in consultation with the Clinical Director and Education Advisor. A written response will be issued within 30-days of receipt of the written complaint.
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