Pooches put patients at ease

11 Sep 2019 12:32
Published by: Kian French

PATIENTS on wards at hospitals across Stockport are now getting a regular treat thanks to visits from four legged friends. Dog visitors to wards are helping to relax them and put them at ease.

There are now six separate therapy dogs regularly visiting different areas of both Stepping Hill Hospital and the community hospital settings of the Devonshire Unit on Cherry Tree Street and the Bluebell Unit at the Meadows Hospital in Offerton.

A friendly donkey has now joined them too in visiting the Bluebell Unit.

Pet therapy is a way of helping patients relax by the simple of means of letting them interact with friendly animals.

It has been shown to release endorphins that produce a calming effect, and can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and provide psychological support.

The dogs' - Callie, Pep, Thornton, Ivy, Bertie and Daphne - have now been joined by donkey Tiny Tim.

Daphne is a recent recruit, a friendly mongrel with a cute face who was saved from the street.

She usually visits older patients, while others are assigned to children’s areas. Like the others she has a very gentle nature and has been certified as a 'Pets as Therapy' dog.

Pet therapy runs aside other innovative forms of patient support run at Stepping Hill Hospital and the community, including musical therapy, film evenings, hand massages, manicures and craft activities.

Emma Rogers, matron for patient experience at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospital and community services, said: "The introduction of pet therapy in the past year has been a real success story.

"Both the dogs and the donkey have been bringing a lot of joy to a lot of patients.

"Patients who don't have so many visitors find them particularly comforting, but they really have got down well across the board. In fact, they have gone down so well that we're on the lookout for more."

If you have a dog or other pet who you think may be a good support for patients, then you can get it touch with Emma to discuss it. Contact her on 0161 419 5203 or at emma.rogers@stockport.nhs.uk

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