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Published on October 27, 2011

Crozer Now Offers Pet Therapy

In August, Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s specialized unit for seniors, the Acute Care of Elders Unit (ACE) began offering pet therapy. Pet therapy, in which dogs interact with patients, is aimed at improving the lives of the elderly clients by stimulating their minds.

“Many of the elders in our unit have lost their short-term memory. However, the dogs help them feel more comfortable. If they had a dog, it helps them associate with the past,” says Kathy Denny, nurse director of the ACE Unit. “Our patients have an increased sense of anxiety from being away from their daily routine. Pet therapy redirects their attention and makes them feel more comfortable.”

The dogs must be certified and have up-to-date vaccinations. Handlers are with the pets at all times, and pets are leashed. In addition, all infection control policies will be followed.

The dogs, which encompass several different breeds, are on the unit for approximately 1-2 hours at a time, 2-3 times/week. The dogs typically visit the patients in a small group in the ACE unit’s day room. If patients cannot participate in the group session, a one-on-one session is offered.

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