Pet therapy for hospice patients
Pet Therapy: A history of helping people
The therapeutic value of pets has been documented since the 1700s. Since the 1970s, community programs that bring people and animals together for therapy and healing have been helping those in need. Today, Pet Therapy is an established resource that is used in schools, hospitals, senior care facilities, and hospice organizations.
- Pet Therapy offered by Center for Hospice Care is focused on using certified therapy dogs as a way of easing suffering.
- It is structured to serve people of all ages, whether the individual is a hospice patient or a family member coping with grief in the aftermath of losing a loved one.
The health benefits of pet contact
Studies have shown that the act of petting an animal can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and ease depression. Sometimes it helps former pet owners to recall the positive connections they once shared. For people of almost all ages, Pet Therapy can deliver many different benefits.
Pet Therapy for adults
- Social interaction
- Stress reduction
- Blood pressure reduction
- Pain reduction
- Lessening of emotional pain
- Reduction of boredom and idleness
Pet Therapy for children and teens
- Lifts spirits
- Provides an outlet for emotions
- Lowers anxiety and stress
- Reduces isolation and loneliness
- Builds a sense of companionship with others
- Allows and encourages communication
- Instructs gentleness and caring
Trained dogs and certified handlers
Dogs that participate in Center for Hospice Care’s Pet Therapy program are screened carefully for obedience and friendliness. All dogs are certified and their handlers carry liability insurance.
They are rabies-vaccinated and healthy. They have experience in being around many types of people and environments. They are comfortable around medical equipment and are managed by people who are trained in handling a therapy dog.
Serving different age groups
Pet Therapy serves hospice patients by coming into the home or skilled nursing facility and facilitating contact. Even the surrounding non-hospice patients benefit from these visits. We also practice Pet Therapy in our Bereavement Center for people who come here for counseling. Groups are structured by age to ensure comfort and build peer support.
- Children: Age 5-12
- Adolescents: Age 13-17
- Adults: Age 18+