Middletown, NY- Orange Regional Medical Center’s Pet Therapy Program provides patients staying at the hospital with special visits from a team of several four-legged, furry friends. The dogs and their handlers specialize in a therapy that offers a unique type of healing to each patient they visit.
A visit from a pet therapy dog can assist in reducing a patient’s stress, pain, anxiety, loneliness and lower blood pressure. Interaction between patients and pets can increase relaxation, socialization and, at times, encourage communication despite speech or hearing loss. The overall benefits raise a person’s spirits and improve their overall well-being so they can heal more quickly.
All dogs must earn certification as a therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International. The dogs are evaluated on their obedience, response to commands, interaction with strangers and reaction to medical equipment. They must be up-to-date on vaccinations, clean and well groomed and have regular vet check-ups. The handler must also be a volunteer at the Hospital and visits are coordinated by Orange Regional’s Volunteer Services Department. With the understanding that some patients have health restrictions or medical conditions that prevent them from interacting with animals, the Pet Therapy Program works in collaboration with the hospital’s departments, excluding the Intensive and Progressive Care Units.
“I personally see what a tremendous positive effect pet therapy has on our patients, their family members and also our staff, who look forward to their visits,” says Orange Regional’s Director of Volunteer Services, Debbie Linken.
To learn more information about Orange Regional’s Pet Therapy Program call 845-333-0213. For more information about Orange Regional’s Complementary Therapy, visit www.ormc.org.
Orange Regional Medical Center is a member of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System.