pet therapy 300 x 200Incorporating animals into a therapy plan can be a highly effective way of reaching patients in a way that is difficult to achieve in more traditional format.

Pet therapy – a guided interaction between a trained animal and a patient – is designed to help an individual cope with or recover from a mental disorder or physical health issue. While dogs and cats are the animals most frequently used, pet therapy can also include fish, horses, guinea pigs or other creatures.

Many Embassy Healthcare communities offer pet therapy as an option for residents and patients. Pet therapy is sometimes referred to as animal-assisted therapy (AAT), which can be confused with animal-assisted activities (AAA). Whereas AAT is a more structured therapy plan that helps individuals meet specific goals, AAA is a more casual interaction where a person is paired with an animal with the intent to make them more comfortable.

How Does It Help?

Benefiting from the innate bond between people and animals, pet therapy can be used to treat a variety of physical and mental conditions. It can help lower blood pressure and release calming endorphins – which in turn can reduce pain, stress and improve one’s psychological state. 

Targeted goals of pet therapy may include the improvement of:

  • Motor skills and joint movement
  • Self-esteem
  • Oral communication
  • Independent or assisted movement

Who Can Benefit?

Animal-assisted therapy can be beneficial to the following individuals:

  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Individuals undergoing chemotherapy
  • Stroke victims and others working to regain motor skills
  • Those with mental health conditions
  • Residents of long-term care facilities

For more information on services available at Embassy Healthcare, call us at 888-975-1379 or contact us online.