February 21, 2018 – ICU Demoralization


Anchor lead: Dogs may help when people must be in an ICU for prolonged periods, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Dogs can help when people must be in an intensive care unit for a long time. That’s one observation of such an intervention underway at Johns Hopkins, and outlined recently in a paper in Critical Care. Megan Hosey, the paper’s first author, says dogs help people cope with things like fear and pain, but also with another condition affecting those hospitalized for prolonged periods.

Hosey: We’ve had some instances where patients have been in the hospital for really long periods of time and start to experience what we call demoralization. And there’s just something about dogs that brings the outside world in and may give patients a spark of hope that there’s still life going on out there. They tend to sort of normalize the experience, so for these demoralized patients having a dog in front of you just sort of gives you a sense of hope or sort of joy in life.  :28

Hosey says dogs are specially trained and prepared for their ICU visits and really seem to enjoy their work there. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.