May 11, 2016 – Pet Benefit
Anchor lead: Does allowing dogs to visit people in hospitals have any benefit? Elizabeth Tracey reports
For people who are dog lovers, having a dog visit them in the hospital is full of warm fuzzies, but is there really any benefit to the practice? Stephanie Greenberg, who manages the dog visitation program at Johns Hopkins, says formal studies do support the practice.
Greenberg: There are validating studies that absolutely show lowering your blood pressure, and decreasing anxiety, and in some studies showing decreased levels of depression and so forth. Here at Hopkins a lot of this research is going on, just recently one of our oncology nurse PhDs completed an extensive study on the benefits of dogs visiting oncology units. All the data, which is incredibly important, sort of proved what we already knew about when we visit people which is that it is a good thing and it helps. :30
Greenberg says other studies have shown there’s no increased risk of infection or any other negative side effects of dogs in the hospital, so having dogs who are extensively trained to visit is a win-win. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.