In response to studies showing that cuddling or petting a dog can achieve health benefits, Gosnell Memorial Hospice House is launching a dog visitation program for its patients and their families.
Pet programs can help achieve positive health benefits, including reduced anxiety, lowered blood pressure, lowered heart rate, and reduced depression. Anxiety and depression are of particular concern in hospice care, and animal visits can also provide comfort and socialization for patients struggling with isolation or loneliness.
Surveys show that the number one priority of people with chronic and life-threatening diseases is independence, which is impacted by admission to a facility.
“Hospice care is all about making the most of the time we have when dealing with end of life,” said Hospice of Southern Maine CEO Daryl Cady. “For our patients at Gosnell, connecting with trained therapy dogs can help normalize and reduce the anxiety of being away from home.”
All dogs and handlers in the program must be approved through a national therapy animal registry before admission to Gosnell, and adhere to rigorous visitation procedures while on premise, in order to ensure the safety and comfort of all patients, visitors, and staff.
- Published in Pets