Emily (Speech and Language Therapist) contacted the wonderful PAT (Pets as Therapy) charity with the hope of finding a dog that would be suitable to provide some pet therapy to the stroke patients on Aspen ward. Emily and the Infection Control Team worked hard to put together the ‘PAT Dogs and Assistant dogs on hospital premises’ policy, and then some pawsome therapy could being!
Pets As Therapy (PAT) is a national charity founded in 1983. It is unique in that it provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, by volunteers with their own friendly, temperament tested and vaccinated animals.
The value of pet ‘therapy’ is widely accepted as a powerful aid to stimulation and communication. Studies have shown that the presence of companion animals can improve the well-being of patients and lower the rate of anxiety, simply by making the hospital environment happier, more enjoyable and less forbidding.
Lily and her owner Joanna come to visit our Stroke Ward every Thursday afternoon. The Stroke Therapies team lead the way and work hard to ensure that all patients that want to visit Lily are able to get out of bed and be taken to the therapies gym.
Our patients on the Stroke Ward are often in hospital for long periods of time. They often feel isolated and miss their own pets. Lily brings a calmness to everyone in the room, both staff and patients. Even the most withdrawn seem to open up and let the barriers down when Lily is around.
It has been amazing to see how the patients have reacted to Lily. Pet therapy has allowed patients to engage in meaningful rehab regardless of their level of impairment. The improvement seen in the patients’ mood and staff well-being has been overwhelmingly pawsitive!