Palliative and hospice patients often struggle with sadness, fear and other difficult emotions. As they are experiencing this challenging time, it is important to help them manage their pain, ensure they receive their medical treatment and help them cope with their feelings. Certified therapy pets are unusual palliative and hospice care workers but can provide a wide range of physical and emotional benefits to patients and their families.
Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, is a complementary therapy that brings animals into the care continuum. Specially trained animals, such as cats or dogs, provide a bond and help release feel-good hormones. Service animals may also be prescribed to help with daily activities.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
Pet therapy has several benefits, including:
Physical Health Benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Diminishes overall physical pain
- Produces a calming effect
Mental Health Benefits:
- Lessens depression
- Decreases anxiety
- Increases socialization
- Reduces boredom
- Decreases feelings of isolation
- Provides comfort
Inducing Comfort Through Pet Therapy
All patients deserve to live comfortably, which is why it is our priority to help ease palliative and hospice patient’s symptoms and induce comfort during their care. Research indicates that “animal-assisted therapy has shown to be a potential non-pharmacological tool in the realms of palliative care, oncology care, and hospice care that can offer as a way to enhance the patient’s health in a variety of ways.” You can find the study’s results here.