LEWES, Del. – A new offering from Beebe Healthcare: pet therapy for patients, visitors, and team members.
Research shows this alternative therapy decreases blood pressure and improves even short hospital visits for some patients and visitors. In addition, having a canine visitor greatly reduces some people's stress levels, according to Beebe.
When Manager of Volunteer Services Lee Halloran and Director of Patient Relations Jeannie Briley-Wallo read an article about the success of pet therapy programs in reducing stress of hospital staff, they decided to bring such a program to Beebe.
“This is a pilot program here at Beebe, but it mimics other successful programs at hospitals, including A.I. DuPont and Christiana Care in Wilmington,” Halloran says. “All of the dogs and handlers have gone through specific training courses for healthcare visitations.”
A Wilmington-based nonprofit called PAWS for People recruited, trained, certified and placed the teams of dogs and handlers. Beebe is one of more than 130 locations in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey where the organization has therapy teams in place.
To start, Beebe will have five therapy dogs and handlers visiting patients, visitors and team members in the Outpatient Cardiology and Same Day Surgery Waiting Areas.
“I am proud to be able to offer one more way to reduce anxiety and stress for our patients, visitors and team members,” Briley-Wallo says. “It is our hope that this program will continue to evolve and grow to serve additional locations within the Beebe Healthcare system.”