ICU patients warmly welcome four-legged friends

Golden retriever Lochie visits Geoff Boon
Golden retriever Lochie visits Geoff Boon
Dunedin Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit has gained two furry friends to help with patient and whānau wellbeing.

Golden retriever Lochie and Retrodoodle Sal from the SPCA Dog Squad have been making regular visits to ICU patients since April this year as part of a new pet therapy initiative.

Working alongside SPCA, their visits have been facilitated by Southern DHB staff members – Physiotherapist Samantha Graham, Registered Nurse Sam Edney and ICU Consultant Mark Wooley.

“Everyone is always so happy to see Lochie and Sal,” says Physiotherapist Samantha Graham. “ICU can be very overwhelming for our patients and family members at times, and having pet therapy goes a small way to making the environment feel more human. People are sometimes with us for a while, and many miss the interaction with their own animals.

“Their visits also help with patient and staff wellbeing, anxiety, depression and PTSD, along with increasing compliance with rehabilitation and aiding with delirium.”

The dogs are trained though the Dog Squad (SPCA) and currently visit for one hour every second Monday.


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