Animal assisted therapy returns to NNUH

Four-legged volunteers have returned to NNUH for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started to support the wellbeing and recoveries of patients.

The Trust joined forces with the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) three years ago to provide animal assisted therapy to inpatients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Dedicated volunteers and their calm and friendly pets are making their first hospital visits since the start of Covid this week.

Chris Branson and his eight-year-old collie Anusha were the first to resume PAT visiting on Heydon and Ingham wards today (Tuesday 17 August).

Joe Rejek, Older Peoples Medicine Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to have so many of our volunteers returning to help the Trust over the last few months and we are thrilled to welcome the much-valued Pets As Therapy team back to our hospital. The PAT dogs always receive a warm welcome from our staff and patients and we are very grateful to the charity for their support. The companionship of a dog and their handler can aid recovery, stimulate conversation, encourage movement and social interaction.”

PAT dogs will be visiting Earsham, Elsing, Ingham and Mattishall Wards, Buxton children’s ward and the Aylsham Discharge Suite initially.

Their human owners will be following infection prevention and control measures when onsite. They are also fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and will be carrying out regular lateral flow tests in advance of volunteering.