Animal Assisted Therapy
Phoenix Children's Hospital's provides an Animal-Assisted Therapy Program to patients and their families for therapeutic purposes.
Scientific research has shown that a patient's interaction with an animal can provide positive physical and emotional benefits. It can reduce stress levels and invoke a sense of well-being.
Animal-assisted therapy acts as a catalyst to motivate patients to help themselves. A child will happily take a dog for a walk, or throw the animal a ball, forgetting the pain for a little while and moving closer to going home.
Among the specific benefits of animal-assisted therapy are the ways it motivates children to:
- Get up, move, walk, leave their room and play.
- Participate in therapy (physical, occupational and speech.)
- Forget their discomfort or pain.
- Interact more with others.
- Improve their mood.
- Improve their interactions with family and staff.
- Do things that may be a struggle, such as eating, taking medication or waiting.
Our volunteer therapy animals and owners are trained and nationally-certified. Group events and individual bedside visits are requested by the patient's doctors, nurses, occupational and physical therapists or child life specialists. The program coordinator creates a session with the patient and the team that works toward the patient's treatment goals.
For more information about animal-assisted therapy for your stay at the Hospital, please e-mail the program coordinator, Mary Lou Jennings, or call 602-933-2136.