DiversityNursing Blog

Hospital Therapy Rabbits on Hand for 'Bunny Day'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 06, 2015 @ 01:46 PM

By SYDNEY LUPKIN

abcnews.go.com

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The Easter Bunny has some sweet competition in the form of two therapy rabbits at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.

Nutmeg and Clovis, both 5 years old, live on the 13th floor of the hospital, and this week, they visited patients for Bunny Day, the hospital's nondenominational springtime celebration. They wore rabbit ears (yes, really), a bonnet, and sat on a basket of eggs.

"The bunny cart is decorated to the hilt, and then we'll go and see patients and work with patients," said Gwenn Fried, manager of horticultural therapy services at NYU Langone. "The patients adore it."

As she travels the hospital with one rabbit at a time (Rabbits need breaks, too!), she said she hands patients a plastic Easter egg, and it contains either a sticker or a bunny treat.

"The bunny is very excited about the bunny treat," she laughed.

The bunnies visited 15 patients on Thursday and will visit more today and tomorrow, Fried said.

The rabbits are part of a therapy program that's been at the hospital for about 13 years. Sometimes, doctors recommend the bunny therapy, and sometimes patients request it, but Fried said she's seen them work magic on children and adults alike.

"One dad just said, 'I really think Clovis changed our lives,'" Fried told ABC News last year. "He's the most patient animal I've ever seen in my life."

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Topics: therapy, animals, nurse, doctors, medical, patients, hospital, patient, treatment, bunny, Easter

Pets Find Pain Relief Using Ancient Method Of Acupuncture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

By MICHELLE CASTILLO

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Pets are getting some pain relief thanks to a centuries-old method that has helped some of their owners: acupuncture.

A dachshund named Samson benefitted from the treatment. Samson was pawed aggressively by another dog at the park and needed surgery immediately. After his first procedure, it was clear he was still in some pain. Doctors recommended a second surgery, but owner Ellie Sutton wasn't so keen to make Samson go under the knife again.

"I wouldn't want to risk something like paralysis," Sutton told CBS News. She decided "to try every other kind of step first."

To her surprise, the veterinarian suggested acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine method of inserting needles into the skin to stimulate parts of the body.

Veterinary acupuncturists can use .2 to .3 mm needles that range in length from .5 inches to 1.5 inches on pooches.

"A lot of people come for acupuncture because they've exhausted a lot of the traditional Western medicine roots, whether it's medication or surgery," Dr. Marc Seibert, Samson's vet, told CBS News. Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital and Lower East Side Animal Hospital in New York City.

Seibert explained there are two main theories behind how acupuncture works. Eastern medicine teaches that energy flows through channels in the body called meridians. When the meridians are blocked, the person -- or the animal -- experiences physical pain. The acupuncture needles help direct the energy to the correct path.

Western medicine, on the other hand, suggests that acupuncture may help by bringing oxygen to the area that the doctor is trying to treat. Hormones called endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being, are released, and the anti-inflammatory parts of the immune system kick in.

"Most people think of acupuncture as a pain reliever, but it's more than that," says Dr. Ihor Basko, a holistic veterinarian in private practice in Honolulu, certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in Ft. Collins, Colo., told Paw Nation. "Acupuncture can boost the immune system and improve organ functions, and it has other benefits. It can complement conventional medicines and procedures without dangerous side effects."

Not everyone is convinced the method works. Veterinarian Craig Smith, the complementary-care expert for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told U.S. and World News Report that it's hard to know for sure if canines and felines are feeling relief from their pain.

"While many people treating pets with acupuncture report success, there isn't any data that proves it works," he said.

Ellie Sutton admitted that a lot of the "energy flow" talk is hard for her to believe. But she says Samson has definitely benefited from the treatment.

"The fact is he walks better afterwards," she said.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Topics: needles, body, animals, pain, acupuncture, pets, pain relief, nurse, medical, medicine, treatment, doctor

Pets May Help Improve Social Skills Of Children With Autism

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 01:26 PM

By Carolyn Gregoire

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Having a family pet can be beneficial for child development in a number of ways, including keeping kids active and promoting empathy, self-esteem and a sense of responsibility. But dogs may be particularly beneficial for kids with autism, acting as a "social lubricant" that helps them build assertiveness and confidence in their interactions with others, according to new research from the University of Missouri. 

The researchers surveyed 70 families with autistic children between the ages of eight and 18, all of whom were patients at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Nearly 70 percent of the participating families had dogs, half had cats, and some owned other pets including fish, rodents, rabbits, reptiles and birds. 

The study's lead author Gretchen Carlisle, a research fellow at the University of Missouri, observed that autistic children are were likely to engage socially in social situations where pets were present. While previous research has focused specially on the ways that dogs benefit the development of autistic children, Carlisle found that pets of any type were beneficial for the childrens' social skills.

"When I compared the social skills of children with autism who lived with dogs to those who did not, the children with dogs appeared to have greater social skills," Carlisle said in a statement. "More significantly, however, the data revealed that children with any kind of pet in the home reported being more likely to engage in behaviors such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people's questions. These kinds of social skills typically are difficult for kids with autism, but this study showed children's assertiveness was greater if they lived with a pet."

Carlisle observed the strongest attachments between the children and small dogs, although parents also reported strong attachments between their children and other pets, such as cats and rabbits. 

“Dogs are good for some kids with autism but might not be the best option for every child,” Carlisle said. “Kids with autism are highly individual and unique, so some other animals may provide just as much benefit as dogs. Though parents may assume having dogs are best to help their children, my data show greater social skills for children with autism who live in homes with any type of pet.”

Carlisle's research joins a body of work demonstrating the benefits of animal interaction among autistic children. A 2013 review of studies found that specially trained dogs, horses and other animals can facilitate increased social interaction and improved communication among autistic children, as well as decreased stress and problem behavior. 

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com


Topics: learning, study, animals, health, healthcare, research, children, medical, communication, autism, dogs, skills

Toilet-Trained Therapy Horse Entertains Seniors in Retirement Homes

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 10, 2014 @ 03:06 PM

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A nine-year-old horse has become a surprise hit at care homes across England.

Do you think this type of therapy will be used in America's future?

Rupert is a regular visitor to residential homes, where he entertains and interacts with aging residents.

Equine therapy has been shown to reduce stress and improve hand-eye coordination.

 Source: www.goodnewsnetwork.org

Topics: therapy, animals, therapy horse, retirement home, nurses, medical, medicine, treatment, seniors

Sick Man Has 'Complete Turnaround' After Hospital Reunion With Lost Pet

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Oct 20, 2014 @ 09:22 AM

By Eun Kyung Kim

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James Wathen had stopped eating. Frail and barely able to speak, the 73-year-old whispered to a health care worker that he missed his dog, a one-eyed Chihuahua he hadn't seen since paramedics whisked him away to a Kentucky hospital weeks earlier. 

So a team of nurses hustled to learn the fate of Wathen's beloved pet, Bubba, hoping a reunion might provide some peace and comfort to their heartbroken and deteriorating patient — even if arranging one meant bending ahospital rule against pets.

A series of phone calls eventually led the nurses to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, where Bubba was taken and placed with a foster family, said Mary-Ann Smyth, president of the non-profit facility.

Coincidentally, Bubba had also recently fallen ill.

"The dog quit eating a week ago, which is very strange," Smyth told TODAY.com. "The dog didn’t know where James was and James didn't know where the dog was and believe it or not, they both stopped eating at about the same time."

Plans were made to bring the little pooch, who lacked his bottom row of teeth along with his right eye, to the hospital over the weekend.

“He was so sad at first. We had him wrapped in a baby blanket and he was shivering,” Smyth said. “The minute we got about 20 steps from this guy’s room — I kid you not — his little head went up. His eyes got real bright and he was like a different dog.”

She says a similar transformation took place in Wathen during his roughly 30-minute hospital reunion Saturday with Bubba. 

"They didn’t think James was going to make it," she recalled being told during her initial visit to the hospital. “I was 10 feet from his bed and you could barely understand him because he was so hard to hear. The nurse had to lean up right against his face to hear what he was saying."

But he slowly perked up as his dog snuggled with him on his bed. By the time Bubba returned for a second visit Tuesday, visible changes were noticeable in both man and his best friend.

"He’s done a complete turnaround. He's speaking, he's sitting up, he’s eating. He doesn't look like the same guy," said Smyth, who didn't attend the second visit but saw Wathen in footage recorded by the shelter's director. "And the dog is eating and doing better now, too."

Baptist Health Corbin, the hospital treating Wathen, did not return repeated messages left by TODAY.com seeking comment.  

But nurse Kimberly Probus told WKYT-TV a team of nurses went looking for Bubba after "one of our social workers realized it was mourning the loss of the dog that was making our patient even worse and emotionally unhealthy."  

Smyth said she's not surprised at the healing power pets provide their owners.

"I hope this story will show to people the tremendous difference that animals can make in people’s lives," she said. She also hopes it will encourage people to think about rescuing pets from shelters like hers, which is rebuilding its facility after its previous home burned down in a fire last November.

“One of the biggest problems we face is the way some people think of animals. People just don’t see animals as creatures and beings, they see them as property,” she said. “I hope people understand they’re not 'its,' they’re 'beings.'”

Source: www.today.com


Topics: animals, dog, pet, health, healthcare, nurses, hospital, patient

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