Pet therapy at the Royal United Hospital, Bath

ContactDr Chris Dyer, Consultant Geriatrician / Clinical Lead, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
AddressRoyal United Hospital, Avon, Bath, Somerset BA1 3NG

What is being done?

Petal, a two-year old terrier is bringing a great deal of pleasure to patients, particularly on the Older Peoples’ Unit at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath.

What is new and different?

Petal is a Pets as Therapy or PAT dog owned by Minnie Dumas. Pets as Therapy (PAT) is a national charity founded in 1983. Volunteers from the charity take friendly, temperament tested and vaccinated dogs into hospitals and other organisations for therapeutic visits, offering temporary, but regular animal companionship and comfort to patients.

What difference this seems to be making

Sick patients often feel isolated and even the most withdrawn seem to open up and let the barriers down when the PAT dog visits. The dogs bring everyday life closer and with it all the happy associations for them of home comforts.

The constant companionship of an undemanding animal, that gives unconditional love, is often one of the most missed aspects of their lives. Pets as Therapy was formed to help make this loss more bearable and speed recovery, giving a much needed extra boost in addition to medical skills and nursing care.

The PAT dog is one of a number of initiatives that the RUH actively encourages in order to improve the experience of patients on the Older Peoples’ Unit.

Dr Chris Dyer, Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical Lead on the Older People’s Unit says:

“It’s wonderful to see the eyes of our patient’s light up when they meet Petal. We see the therapeutic benefits that Petal has had upon their well-being long after the PAT dog has gone.”