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  • Evan Hessel

Pet Therapy and Its Healing Benefits for Hospice Patients

Updated: Oct 13


Pet Therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy (AAT), is becoming increasingly popular in hospices and hospitals. In this therapy, cute and affectionate furry friends provide emotional support and engagement for terminally-ill patients. Studies have shown that animal assisted-therapy is an effective method in reducing the patients’ pain. Seniors who feel isolated and bound by their condition/illness can benefit from this therapy greatly.

Gentle Transitions prides itself on providing high-quality care and satisfaction to its patients. Hence, this family-owned organization in Waco, Texas, provides pet therapy to its patients and encourages them to feel optimistic and loved by the highly trained and hospitable staff. Pet therapy is available for all patients at Gentle Transitions hospice. Waco-Temple-Killeen residents should look into this service for their elderly loved ones who are currently on hospice.

We want to ensure that each patient under our hospice care is surrounded by love, compassion, and peace; pets are known to provide these through their companionship. Pet therapy has numerous benefits, such as:

· Reduces stress and anxiety

· Takes seniors’ mind off thoughts about death

· Decreases feelings of loneliness and depression

· Reduces high blood pressure

· Improves cardiovascular health

· Increases interaction and friendship between patients

Animals used to provide companionship in pet therapy include rabbits, dogs, cats, pigs, baby goats, miniature horses, and birds. Each animal has a quality that makes them viable for pet therapy. For example, a bird’s unique disposition and vibrant feathers can create a wholesome feeling for patients.

Patients experience positive feelings when they are in the presence of pets. They also play with the animals by petting, hugging, throwing a ball, teaching tricks, etc. Farm animals such as baby pigs, lambs, and goats are known for their quiet and affectionate demeanor. Our staff is ready to receive your elderly loved one and provide this therapy to them, especially if they are a veteran. Central Texas hospice agencies of repute that offer this therapy are few, and Gentle Transitions is proud to be one of them.

Studies have also shown that animal-assisted therapy stunted the growth of symptoms in patients with dementia in just 10 weeks. This major discovery will be helpful in the treatment of patients. It also makes a strong case for the use of compassion and empathy-based therapies in a palliative care or hospice setting. Central Texas has a senior population that can benefit from this therapy, and it is available at Gentle Transitions Hospice.

Pet therapy in hospices such as Gentle Transitions does not simply involve bringing pets to make patients happy; it is much more than that. This form of therapy transforms the energy into the room and the temperaments of the terminally-ill patients. It eases the transitioning of the patients and introduces a healthy friendship that will make their time with us special.

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