Taylor Hospital Now Offers Pet Therapy to Patients
Ridley Park, PA — Imagine walking down a hospital hallway and seeing a very different kind of visitor leaving a patient room – a dog. This is reality at Taylor Hospital, which has introduced a new pet therapy program for inpatients. “This program is for the better and wellness of the patients and the experiences of their family members,” says Judy Lieberman, director of Volunteer Services at Taylor Hospital and creator of the program. “I wanted to give our patients a break from the routine of being a patient. Seeing the smile on a patient’s face or a family member who is sitting keeping their loved one company during a hospital stay is priceless.”
Currently there are two trainers and their certified dogs, named Scout and Abbey, who visit the hospital as many times as possible during the week for as long as their owners’ schedules allow. The dogs visit the Taylor Regional Rehabilitation Center, the Crozer-Keystone Hospice Residence at Taylor, and the lobby. Lieberman explains, “Research shows that petting an animal can lower your blood pressure.” According to the Mayo Clinic, “animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.”
These dogs are personal pets whose owners have gone through a training process with them that allows the dogs to come into the hospital. “Their owners see something in their animals and have the desire to give back, so they go through the process to have them trained,” Lieberman says.
“When patients and visitors come to the hospital, they are here for many different reasons. A hospital setting can produce an anxious response – a patient might get some bad news or they are waiting to hear about test results or be tested for a specific concern. Imagine how surprised you would be if you saw a dog walk in unexpectedly. It breaks the ice and gives the person a moment away from their worries,” Lieberman says.
Owners with certified pet therapy dogs are welcome to volunteer. Contact Lieberman at (610) 595-6070 or visit http://volunteer4.crozerkeystone.org and fill out the application.