Dog Visits to Benefit Southern Maine Hospice Patients
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SCARBOROUGH, Maine (June 21, 2016) – In response to studies showing that cuddling or petting a dog can achieve health benefits, Gosnell Memorial Hospice House is launching a dog visitation program for its patients and their families.
Petprograms can help achieve positive health benefits including reduced anxiety, lowered blood pressure, lowered heart rate, and reduced depression. Anxiety and depression are of particular concern in hospice care and animal visits can also provide comfort and socialization for patients struggling with isolation or loneliness.
Surveys show that the number one priority of people with chronic and life-threatening diseases is independence, which is impacted by admission to a facility.
“Hospice care is all about making the most of the time we have when dealing with end of life,” said Hospice of Southern Maine CEO Daryl Cady. “For our patients at Gosnell, connecting with trained therapy dogs can help normalize and reduce the anxiety of being away from home.”
All dogs and handlers in the program must be approved through a national therapy animal registry before admission to Gosnell and adhere to rigorous visitation procedures while on premise in order to ensure the safety and comfort of all patients, visitors, and staff.
Meet our PawPrints Therapy Dogs:
About Hospice of Southern Maine
Hospice of Southern Maine’s mission is to provide compassion, care, and comfort through end of life. Formed through a collaborative effort among York and Cumberland County leaders and health care providers, Hospice of Southern Maine (HSM) organized in 2001 and began providing direct patient services in 2004. Today, HSM cares for more than 1,500 patients annually, at the patient's home, current care facility, or Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, an 18-bed inpatient facility in Scarborough. HSM admits patients with a variety of diagnoses, including Alzheimer's; heart, lung, and kidney diseases; stroke; Lou Gehrig's disease; and cancer. Care is patient-centered with family support, and provided by a comprehensive interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains, grief counselors, and volunteers. Hospice of Southern Maine is a non-profit 501(c)3, Medicare certified, state licensed agency, and the largest provider of hospice services in Southern Maine. To learn more, visit www.hospiceofsouthernmaine.org.