Medical professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the therapeutic and soothing effects animals have on patients. A growing number of clinical studies are proving that animals contribute to physical health by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety levels and increasing survival rates for people with heart disease.
Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) of Kearney, Nebraska has transformed healthcare delivery and positively affected family members, staff and the community through a program that complements traditional models. While other animal assisted therapy programs (AAP) have long been admired for the impact they have in the health care setting, what sets GSH AAP apart from others is the hospital’s commitment to support the program to provide services not only to the hospital but also to the our entire community.
Link to blog article: Carolyn and Chunk Visit the Cancer Center
Jude and Schatzi were recognized for their work at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon by this note of appreciation received from a family member of a patient at Good Samaritan Hospital:
In the fall of 2001 Larry, our then puppy Neco and I attended the Samoyed Nationals in Denver. That was when we first heard about pet therapy. We were so captivated by the numerous stories and upon returning to Kearney immediately started training to become certified. We have been involved in the pet therapy program for 10 years with Neco.
In the fall of 2002 Brighton joined our family. He and Neco have the same mother. Brighton started pet therapy at a very young age. We were going many places that wanted the little puppy to join us. As soon as possible Brighton was fully certified. Brighton has been in the program for 9 years.
In 2009 the four of us were selected to receive The Spirit of Planetree Therapy Animal Award. This is a nationwide organization that is participated in by Good Samaritan Hospital.
We have made visits to Bryant School, Meadowlark School, Northeast School, Zion School, Sunrise Middle School, Kearney Senior High School, YMCA preschool, private school in Lincoln, PEO organization, Relay for Life, various Senior Citizens Housing, Omaha Care Center, Public Library reading program for children, Camp Bear, Richard Young Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital.
~ Larry and Helen Miller
Our own Tami Fleshman presents at the 2010 Planetree Annual Conference in Denver Colorado!
Animals in Action: Implementing and Growing an Active Animal-Assisted Therapy Program
Tami Fleshman, CTRS, CCAP, HTR, of Good Samaritan Hospital
This session describes the experience of implementing and growing an active animal-assisted program. Volunteers for Delta Society, Inc., and Therapy Dog, Inc provide support (education, training, observation) for 55 volunteers who provide over 5,000 volunteer hours. One dog is also a member of the Funny Bones Caring Clown program. Activities include hospital visits, modeling for the annual calendar, Library Paws to Read program, parades, nursing home and physician office visits, children's camp, and Kidz Explore. Resources are shared with attendees as well as shared experiences for growing a program, and lessons learned.
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