Children at Bustamante hospital to get animal therapy

November 24, 2022
‘Dr Teddy Barks,’ a golden retriever, sits on the lap of  Joey Brown, general curator at Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation,  during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives.
‘Dr Teddy Barks,’ a golden retriever, sits on the lap of Joey Brown, general curator at Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation, during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives.

A golden retriever named 'Dr Teddy Barks', and affectionately called 'Teddy', will be the brand ambassador for the Animal Assisted Recovery and Care (AARC) project which will be introduced at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The initiative will be implemented this Christmas and will run for 18 months.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said that among the objectives is to reduce the anxiety and stress associated with hospitalisation; to reduce the length of hospitalisation; to lessen the need for pharmacological interventions; and to improve the social environment for healthcare delivery.

'Teddy' - the main therapy animal - was accompanied by Joey Brown, general curator at Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation, as he sat in the House of Representatives on Tuesday when Tufton announced the AARC project.

The initiative will be implemented this Christmas and will run for 18 months. He said that the project is a patient-centred intervention that will complement healthcare delivery to hospitalised paediatric patients undergoing procedures or who require long-term hospitalisation.

Tufton said the introduction of the project at Bustamante hospital provides an opportunity for further studies on the mental health needs of paediatric patients. Other expected outcomes are: a reduction in the physiological and self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression; improvement in assisted and independent movement; provision of non-pharmacological method for addressing anxiety, stress, and pain; reduction of anxiety and trauma associated with hospitalisation; as well as a reduction of loneliness and depression in an unfamiliar setting.

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