The Pet Therapy program brings specially trained therapy dogs for a visit patients in eight areas: Pediatrics, Teen Unit, Adolescent and Geriatric Psych, Neurological/Stroke Unit, Cardiac Telemetry, Adult Rehabilitation, and Hospice.
Animal assisted therapy has become so accepted in medical facilities across the nation that it is now recognized among the "best practices" of health care.
The use of therapy dogs in a hospital environment has been proved to humanize the hospital experience and to improve the quality of life.
Research has proven that contact with therapy dogs can affect the physiological and psychological stress levels of the participants, lowering blood pressure, slowing individual heart rate and reducing the level of stress hormones. Patient interaction with a therapy dog in a hospital environment can:
- Eases depression
- Humanizes the complexity of medical treatments
- Puts patients at ease
- Speeds the recovery process
- Helps with pain relief
- Provides social stimulation
- Alleviates loneliness
Additional benefits include: inspiring happiness and laughter, providing encouragement to communicate, increasing physical activity and functioning, and increasing patient and associate morale.