Therapy Dogs Comfort Patients through Karing Partners Program

February 28, 2017 § Leave a comment

Karing Partners pic

Karing Partners
Image: osfhealthcare.org

A member of the American Academy of Family Medicine, Dr. Lamont Tyler possesses more a decade of teaching experience at Rush Medical School and the Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Lamont Tyler currently holds the position of medical director of specialty physician services at the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Illinois. Patient services offered by the clinic include the animal assisted therapy program Karing Partners.

Karing Partners uses highly trained service dogs and their handlers to bring comfort to patients and improve their hospital experience. Visits from a certified therapy dog offer a number of benefits to patients, including reduced stress, pain, anxiety, and blood pressure. In addition, animal assisted therapy can increase communication and patient social interaction.

Handlers and their dogs must become certified by one of three therapy dog certification organizations in order to participate in Karing Partners. In order to receive certification, they must pass a strict evaluation process to ensure the safety of patients, staff, handlers, and canines. Furthermore, handlers and their dogs must participate in shadowed visits at the medical center prior to full program acceptance. Handlers must also receive an annual flu shot.

In addition to certification, the canines themselves must get along well with people and dogs, follow basic commands, remain up-to-date on vaccinations, and meet all health requirements. They also must remain calm and walk loosely on a leash at all times.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit osfhealthcare.org/st-joseph/giving/animal-assisted-therapy.

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