Tuesday, 19 July 2011
On Saturday 16th July 2011, the Health Board will launch its ‘Pets As Therapy’ initiative, working in partnership with the ‘Pets As Therapy’ charity.
The launch will be carried out at 10am in the Education Centre at Glan Clwyd Hospital by Pauline Fleming (known to many as the girlfriend of the legendary Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, where she played his knickerwear entrepreneur equal, 'Penny King').
Dawn Cooper, Interim Head of Service User Experience said “This initiative will enable the charity to bring their registered dogs and cats into certain health care environments to aid patient wellbeing. The charity has had some long standing links with the mental health service at Glan Clwyd Hospital, but this new development will ensure that patients across the Health Board will be able to access this service.”
‘Pets As Therapy’ will be available in all the hospitals in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Region, to visit in E.M.I., Dementia Care, Stroke Rehabilitation, Paediatrics, Psychiatric and Oncology Departments.
Research shows that animal companionship can help speed up the rate of recovery of patients and also assist in rehabilitating patients in a variety of ways:
- Animals are excellent ice-breakers with people who for one reason or another do not (or perhaps cannot) communicate with their carers/nursing staff, but are inspired to talk to an animal.
- Stroking an animal can lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels. Often patients suffering from depression withdraw into their own world and the presence of a registered P.A.T. dog or cat can break through barriers where humans have failed.
- The interaction with a P.A.T. dog can greatly help stroke sufferers. For example, people suffering from a ‘stroke’ have often lost the power of speech. Coherent speech is not necessary in order to bond with an animal. P.A.T. dogs neither know nor care whether the sounds being made make sense. The tone is all-important and body language does the rest. Pets As Therapy can also help make rehabilitation more enjoyable and novel, and patients are encouraged to brush the P.A.T. dogs which helps them use their affected limbs and body parts.
All Pets As Therapy dogs and cats must be well mannered, with a friendly and reliable nature and, above all, they must enjoy meeting people. To avoid posing a health risk to the people they are visiting, all P.A.T. dogs and cats must be free from parasites, wormed and vaccinated against all the major canine and feline diseases. In addition they are bathed and groomed regularly and presented for their visits in a smart yellow Pets As Therapy jacket.
Anne Jones, Pets As Therapy Co-ordinator said “Our volunteers and their Pets As Therapy dogs in North Wales are looking forward to visiting and making a difference for people who are missing their own pets whilst staying in hospital. All our P.A.T. dogs and cats must pass a rigorous independent health and temperament test before they can enter hospital premises. 12 months ago, the Mental Health Ablett Unit at Glan Clwyd hospital introduced Pets As Therapy as part of their ‘star wards’ project. The dogs have been a huge success in the Unit and the feedback from the patients has been extremely positive”.
Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Pets As Therapy, either by telephone on 01844 345445email or by logging on to the Pets As Therapy website www.petsastherapy.org and requesting a volunteer pack.