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Pet Therapy Now a Part of a Home Care Agency’s Programs

Interim Healthcare in Salem, Virginia, is taking steps to try and provide better care and support for their clients. They have rolled out a new program that offers pet therapy to those who may require this level of support. A Labrador retriever named Rollie will make the rounds with some of the patient visits.

Rollie isn’t going to be taking the trip to visit those clients who don’t wish to have the animal in their presence, but the owner of Interim Healthcare says this can help reach people in a way home care aides and other providers simply can’t.

As reported by Lindsey Ward, anchor for WSLS10 News, in the article, Salem home health company adds pet therapy program:

“Mitch Davis, Interim Healthcare, president and CEO said, “A patient that is having difficulty stretching or range of motion they may not want to do it when the therapist asks, but if you get the dog involved I can actually help them improve their function.”

Davis traveled to New York to pick-up Rollie up from Canine Companions for Independence and bring her back to Salem.”

There have been numerous studies through the years that highlight how beneficial it can be for seniors in particular to enjoy some pet therapy. The simple act of petting an animal and having a cat or dog sitting beside the individual helps to reduce blood pressure, stress, and anxiety.

When seniors live alone, they may have feelings of isolation and loneliness and that can increase the risk of depression and other mental health challenges. A pet can provide companionship that is sorely lacking in that senior’s life.

Not many agencies that provide home care services offer pet therapy; the cost of training animals for use in pet therapy can be high, and with the financial challenges many home care agencies and providers face across the country, it is not at the top of the list of assets some companies are focused on providing.

It’s still early in this program’s run for Interim Healthcare, but Mitch Davis and others are hopeful that this will provide clients better support, motivation, and the opportunity to stretch themselves -not just physically, but emotionally as well.

Even seniors who never owned a pet in their life often find joy and a comforting presence with a dog or cat. Well-trained dogs can be valuable resource for many who face challenges in daily life.

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