Pet Therapy In Hospice! What And Why?
Pets have been shown to have a long history of delivering dependable companionship and unconditional affection to people in their lives. Animals and humans often form an emotional connection because of their compassion and love. Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, is used in hospice settings to bring comfort, tranquility, and calming company to terminally ill patients by utilizing the inherent relationship between humans and animals.
Animals Interaction with Hospice Patients during Visits
The purpose of a pet therapy visit is usually decided in advance with the patient’s caregiver or physician. A standard pet therapy visit entails a handler bringing a pet into a patient’s home or hospital room. The patient is acquainted with the animal and its handler. The handler will usually inquire if the patient wants to pet or engage with the animal. Patients may enjoy conversing with or seeing the animal do stunts. The rest of the encounter is usually dictated by the patient’s comfort level with pet therapy. Pet therapy can go on for as long as the handler or patient wants it to go on. Clinical studies have shown that simply touching an animal can lower blood pressure and calm an anxious mind or an upset patient.
Physical Health Benefits
- Reduces blood pressure
- Enhances cardiovascular health
- Releases endorphins that have a calming effect
- Lowers overall physical pain
- Petting animals creates an automatic relaxation response.
Emotional/Mental Health Benefits
- Boosts spirits and lowers anxiety and depression
- Reduces the feelings of isolation
- Promotes communication
- Offers comfort
- Encourages socialization and sense of community
- Instills motivation for the patient to recover quicker
A patient’s emotional well-being is greatly enhanced by pet therapy. Pet therapy is also beneficial to the patient’s caretakers who are under much stress. Pet therapy is available at Safe Hands Hospice Care. Reach out to Safe Hands Hospice care if you’d like to schedule a pet therapy visit for yourself or a loved one.