Furry Friends Help Patients Feel Better

By: Tiffany Brown

According to a recent article on USAToday.com, more hospitals are expanding hospital visitation to include canines.

Therapy dogs have been helping patients for years. 

“Research has shown that therapy dogs can have measurable health benefits in patients. In a 2007 study, 76 adults with advanced heart failure received either a 12-minute visit from a volunteer with a therapy dog, a 12-minute visit from a volunteer only or 12 minutes of their usual care.

Compared with the usual-care group, the canine group had significantly greater decreases in blood pressure during and after the visit. Compared with the volunteer-only group, they had significantly greater decreases in levels of stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine during and after the visit. And compared with either group, they had significantly greater drops in a measure of "total anxiety."

Therapy dogs have also been shown to reduce loneliness and depression and to stimulate conversation among nursing home residents.”   Excerpts from this article.

The idea that a visit from your own personal pet would be even more beneficial is easy to understand. 

Estate planning attorneys who help their patients with hospital visitation forms may want to start including Fido on that list.  Even if the client’s specific hospital won’t allow it yet, it’s possible they might soon.  And the documents will be ready!

July 16, 2013 | Advance Care Planning Research, Advance Care Planning News, Advance Care Planning Policy

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