News and Notices

Paw-fection: animal therapy is back!

After a long hiatus due to COVID restrictions, animal therapy returned to the Assessment, Treatment, and Rehab ward in mid-November. Patients and staff alike have been thrilled to welcome back pup Toki and her handler, Sue.

Toki pet therapy2

A supplier of smiles: Physiotherapist Rob Sheridan is happy to see animal therapy dog Toki and handler Sue make a return to Nelson Hospital's AT&R ward.

What is Animal Therapy?

Animal therapy itself is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal, and really involves the handler, but the main purpose is to help someone recover or cope with a health problem. 

The unconditional love of a pet like Toki really makes a difference to patients, it can reduce stress and anxiety and sometimes help reduce physical pain. 

There are also numerous other benefits which include improving motor skills and joint movement, increasing self-esteem, verbal communication, as well as a decrease in loneliness and boredom.

This has been a very successful interaction in the past and Lisa Turner, the ward’s Charge Nurse Manager, has worked with Sue to grow this. We are fortunate that St John are also harnessing the healing power of animals and are joining the popular community programme bringing furry companions to bedsides around the country. This service will start at Nelson Marlborough during 2023.