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North West Hospital and Health Services introduces therapy dog program

North West Hospital and Health Services introduces therapy dog program

2024-02-14 15:14:37

North West Hospital and Health Services introduces therapy dog program

14th February 2024

The North West Hospital and Health Service (North West HHS) is excited to announce the launch of its new therapy dog program aimed at enhancing the well-being of patients and staff members.

Joy, a specially trained therapy dog, will be at the forefront of this program, offering comfort and companionship to patients. Joy, along with her handler Pauline McLeod, has already been actively involved in similar programs within the community, visiting schools and engaging with children to promote emotional support and stress relief. 

North West HHS Chief Executive Sean Birgan said the program was aimed at providing a holistic experience for health consumers within the hospital setting.  

 "We recognise the profound impact that interactions with therapy dogs can have on individuals, both young and old,” Mr Birgan said. 

“The introduction of Joy to our hospital environment aligns with our commitment to providing compassionate care and enhancing the overall patient experience." 

Ms McLeod, Joy's dedicated handler, said she was delighted to work with the health service on the first therapy dog program in the region. 

"Joy has been an integral part of our community engagement efforts and bringing her into the hospital setting seemed like a natural progression,” she said. 

“We believe that patients and staff alike can benefit greatly from the presence of a therapy dog, and we're excited to see the positive impact it will have." 

Ms McLeod said the therapy dog program will operate on a scheduled basis, with regular visits planned to ensure widespread access to Joy's presence. The program aims to alleviate anxiety, provide emotional support, and promote a sense of well-being among patients and staff members. 

"We envision Joy becoming a beloved member of our hospital community, bringing smiles and comfort to all those she encounters.”