Edward-Elmhurst Health Animal-Assisted Therapy

When it comes to staying in a hospital, the experience can often be stressful for patients and their families but Edward-Elmhurst Health has some four-legged friends who can help relieve some of that stress.  In this segment of “Transforming Your Healthcare Experience,” we introduce you to their Animal-Assisted Therapy program.

About Edward-Elmhurst Health Animal-Assisted Therapy

Specially-trained volunteers bring in their dogs to visit with patients, visitors, and their staff.  Breeds run the gamete from small Chihuahuas to larger Labradors and everything in between, with more than 40 represented.  To be eligible, all dogs and their trainers must go through temperament testing.

Experts say a visit from one of these dogs improves one’s mood and reduces anxiety.

“I had some anxiety after finding out tests I had to have done and procedures,” said patient April Wantroba.  “Just being able to interact with the dogs made me feel much happier, more calm.”

The program began in 2002 and since then, has included more than 320 dog-and-handler teams, visiting patients more than 215,000 times.

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