You don't need to look to far to find unsung hero's in nursing homes, retirement communities and even personal residences today. They're called caregivers and they come in all shapes and sizes. They give of their time in spades, and often receive little in return. Caregiving is on the rise here in the USA as the many baby boomers begin to age. An as we age, we begin to understand all of the resources out there that can ease the burden for people that are in the advanced stages of illness.
What Is Hospice?
Hospice offers medical care toward a different goal: maintaining or improving quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured. Each patient’s individualized care plan is updated as needed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death. Hospice is something more that is available to the patient and the entire family when curative measures have been exhausted and life prognosis is six months or less. – Hospice Foundation of America
Hospice Pet Therapy
One of the really interesting resources in the hospice arsenal today is the use of 4 legged therapy providers. Pets (primarily dogs) are being to provide mental and physical relief to individuals in need. Hospice pet therapy is proving to be a vital tool in the toolbox of caregivers today. Dr. Gary Buckholz works with “Pawsitive Pals” Pet Therapy Program at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine. Buckholz says that their pet therapy program is so valuable… “It's actually been shown to improve patient outcomes around certain procedures.”
For our patients it's so important because it reduces feelings of anxiety which is a common symptom for our patients and it also reduces feelings of being isolated. – Dr. Gary Buckholz
If you ever wondered about the experience of pet therapy, I ran across a wonderful video that depicts the caring, kindness and love that therapy dogs can provide patients, even when they're very, very ill. You might want to grab a tissue, it's incredibly touching!