Therapy dogs

El Hospital del Mar y la Fundación Affinity ponen en marcha un programa pionero en el Estado para mejorar el estado de pacientes de la UCI con perros de terapia.

The initiative aims to improve the stay of people in the ICU and help in their recovery process. The programme is supported by the Affinity Animals and Health Foundation Chair of the Department of Psychiatry of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, directed by Dr. Jaume Fatjó.

The innovative and pioneering initiative is accompanied by a joint study between the Intensive Care Medicine Service of the Hospital del Mar and the aforementioned Chair to demonstrate the benefits of animals as a therapeutic resource in the ICU. To measure this, saliva samples will be collected from patients before and after interaction with the dogs, in order to analyse certain metabolites that function as indicators of the level of stress and well-being of the patient. This process is supported by the Advanced Applied Metabolomics Research Laboratory (LIMA) of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, directed by Dr. Óscar Pozo.

The therapy consists of two weekly sessions of between 15 and 20 minutes per patient. The protagonists are two dogs trained according to strict hospital protocols and meeting all veterinary requirements.

During the sessions, the patients interact according to their possibilities and mobility, with the objective of improving their comfort and relaxation, stimulating them and improving their well-being, contributing to their recovery through stimulation with the dogs. The pilot test will consist of 72 sessions with subsequent evaluation and has a duration of one year. This project is part of the program of humanization of the service and the “pet-friendly” policy of the ICU of the Hospital del Mar.

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