Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust will start running pet therapy sessions for patients in the Trust throughout 2020.
The sessions will be run with Noah’s A.R.T. - a not for profit social enterprise, developed by an experienced mental health nurse and have been funded by The League of Friends at the Trust.
The sessions were launched in the run-up to Christmas with pet therapy dogs visiting the wards within Ladysmith at Tameside Hospital, as well as some additional Guinea pig guests visiting the Children’s Unit.
Being admitted to hospital can be frightening and a lonely experience but the Trust say introducing a pet has been proven to help patients become more active, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase social interactions between patients and staff.
One patient on the Stroke Unit said that spending time with pet therapy dog, Moose, was "a bit of home life you don’t get on the ward".
The sessions will be prepared in advance, ensuring that concerns about infection prevention and control, as well as allergies and phobias, are managed and addressed.
Karen James OBE, Chief Executive of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, said: "I had the pleasure of meeting pet therapy dogs Moose and Maggi when they came into the Trust. The animals brought energy into the hospital as well as joy and humour and I really enjoyed watching them do their tricks.
"I know that feedback has been really positive, with staff and patients agreeing that the sessions were comforting and sparked conversations and sharing of stories and memories. I’m looking forward to more of the sessions this year."