Animal magic

Pets as therapy at Darley Court

Pets as therapy session at Darley Court

Guinea pigs, a dog and a fancy rat have all recently paid a visit to Darley Court, the Trust’s short-term care facility.

The visit was one of Darley Court’s new pets as therapy sessions, funded by Ambition from Ageing (a partnership with Bolton CVS, Age UK and Bolton at Home working across some areas of Bolton).

The animal therapy is one of the elements of a wider plan and whole host of activities to help people in their care recover quicker, have better outcomes, as well as having the best experience of care.

One of the impacts they are seeing is that since putting the programme of events in place falls have reduced significantly. Falls are measured per 1,000 bed days across the NHS. In quarter one the figure per 1,000 bed days was 15.6 and by quarter 3, they had fallen to 4.7.

Many of the patients at Darley Court may have pets at home, or have had them when they were more physically able.

Matron Kate Myatt said the feedback has been brilliant so far, “You can tell instantly that people enjoy having the animals visit. It is something which lifts the entire day – the smiles on people’s faces make it really obvious.

Sydney  the PAT dog

Sydney the PAT dog brightening up the day for patients and visitors

Alfie the pug on children's ward2

Alfie the pug visiting patients on the Children’s Ward

“We’re really pleased to be enhancing the experience people have of our care but also to see this having an impact on falls. We have done a number of things to reduce falls so it’s difficult to pin the result on animal therapy in isolation but the reduction since putting the programme of activities in place is statistically significant.”

The sessions are delivered by animal therapy group, Noah’s A.R.T.

Towards the end of last year, the Royal Bolton Hospital recruited its very first PAT (pets as therapy) dog, basset hound Sydney. Sydney  is a regular visitor to the hospital’s wards. Recently the children’s ward welcomed pug Alfie to cheer its young patients, and are looking at ways that he may become a regular visitor.

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