Tri-State K9 Response Team has served patients at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County for the past two years, but Tuesday's graduation is the first formal pet therapy agreement. The service will now extend to additional campuses within the Lourdes Medical Offices.
Tri-State K9 Response Team has served patients at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County for the past two years, but today's graduation is the first formal pet therapy agreement, and the first acute-care hospital facility continuously serviced by Tri-State K9 Response Team.
The K9 response dogs will be visiting patients across New Jersey in short-term care, nursing floors, psychiatric and rehabilitation units and outpatient offices. Lourdes clinicians noticed the impact of service dogs on patients in relieving stress, anxiety, and creating feelings of joy.
The graduation consisted of 15 teams of dogs and his or her handler. Topics include policies, procedures, safety and patient privacy.
“Whenever we’ve had pet therapy dogs visit, they become instant rock stars,” said Lisa McGarr, director of Volunteer Services at Lourdes. “They positively change the atmosphere for patients, families, staff and volunteers. It’s therapy for everyone.” Therapy dogs also provide a taste of home for patients who have pets and miss them due to hospitalization.
“Our certified dogs provide quiet, yet powerful emotional support. Many times, they can facilitate something that may not naturally happen. Maybe a person will open up about what’s bothering them. It’s an interactive experience that helps people feel less isolated.” Said Kate Rubenstone, volunteer team member at Tri-State.