Surrey Memorial the first hospital in B.C. to have a trauma dog


Unconditional love is coming to Surrey Memorial.

Koltan, a 3-year-old yellow lab, is the first “trauma dog” in B.C. His primary focus is on helping victims of relationship violence, including sexual abuse, as well comforting patients being treated in the emergency department and the intensive care unit.

The hospital says he’s already helped hundreds of people.

On top of adding a trauma dog, the hospital is also planning to have “puppy days” for staff wellness and will be adding a team of therapy dogs for patient visits, beginning next spring.

A recent study found that dogs can help victims of sexual abuse in building trust and relationships and people in dealing with post-traumatic stress, especially with anxiety, sleep, and social skills.

“Interacting with dogs can improve patient outcomes by creating a therapeutic and healing environment. It also gives a moment for staff to decompress and start a conversation that will bring co-workers together,” Fraser Health president and CEO Michael Marchbank said in a statement.

Fraser Health says Koltan is the first of his kind in a hospital in British Columbia.

“Including him as part of the treatment plan allows patients suffering from trauma to engage in therapeutic contact with him, increasing calm and reducing stress. Studies have shown that therapeutic contact with animals lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rate, improves cardiovascular health and slows breathing in those who are anxious,” Fraser Health added in a statement.

Koltan was trained through the Pacific Assistance Dog Society.

Lynn Gifford, clinical coordinator, forensic nursing, and one of Koltan’s caretakers said she’d already seen the impact he’s made with patients.

“I have seen him provide companionship to victims of relationship violence who benefit from this non- judgmental form of comfort,” she said.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction

…read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *