Cancer patients at Bathurst’s Daffodil Cottage are set to benefit from a new Pet Therapy Program which will be launched tomorrow and run twice a month.
The therapeutic benefits animals provide to humans have long been documented, and many health facilities host therapeutic and companion animals in visiting patients.
“Patients undergoing cancer treatment can benefit greatly from having some contact with an animal, both physically and emotionally,” Maria Tipene, Nurse Unit Manager for Oncology/Palliative Care Services in Bathurst said.
“These include lowered stress and anxiety, less loneliness and often a decreased need for pain medication. The patient’s family and carers, as well as the medical staff treating the patient, can also benefit from having an animal around.
“Acknowledging this, staff at Daffodil Cottage were interested in establishing an animal visiting program for our patients. After considerable research and planning, we are now very happy to be launching our new Pet Therapy Program”.
Ms Tipene said three dogs have been identified as potential visitors to Daffodil Cottage, all of which have been well socialised, vaccinated and health checked by a vet.
“Dogs were chosen as the visiting pets as they are easy to train and have an appropriate temperament,” Ms Tipene said.
“Patients will be able to visit the dogs in the courtyard, where fresh food, drink and shelter will be provided for the dogs. Volunteers will also walk the dogs so that they can be toileted away from the courtyard safely and cleanly”.
Daffodil Cottage has developed policy and protocol around local infection control and hand hygiene for the Pet Therapy Program. A local vet will provide vet checks and support the program and a Pet Therapist Program Coordinator will manage it.
The Program will operate on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 9am for up to four hours.
“We are really looking forward to providing the Pet Therapy Program for our patients and their families and thank everyone who has assisted us in getting it up and running,” Ms Tipene said.
Media Contact: Vanessa Delaney Ph 6369 3833 or 0417 511 738