NEW pet therapy sessions are helping to reduce anxiety and improve well-being in patients and lead to quicker recovery times.
The trial was first run in an elderly care unit at the University Hospital of North Tees to help patients with dementia.
It has since been successfully used in the hospital’s orthopaedic ward with help from senior clinical professional Carol Bowler.
Carol has had her three-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, Felicity, professionally assessed and trained for the therapy sessions.
Pictured is Felicity with patient June Fallis.
Carol said: “The trial started on the elderly care ward and was a great success there.
“The next stage is to roll pet therapy out to other clinical areas. In orthopaedics, we saw nine patients and the feedback was extremely positive.
“One particular patient was getting very upset during her stay – but when she saw Felicity her face lit up. They were both enamoured with each other!
“Elderly patients, in particular, want companionship. Through charities like Wag & Co it has successfully been used for home visits but this has now evolved into use in hospitals.
“It’s a proven way of improving patient care in a hospital setting – it’s a fantastic development.”
Carol and Felicity will be visiting other clinical areas every two weeks to carry out more sessions.