Riverside Healthcare - Pets Can Improve Your Health
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Pets Can Improve Your Health Print Friendly and PDF

That’s why, Riverside is proud to introduce our Animal Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who bring their specially trained and certified dogs to visit patients at Riverside Medical Center.

Animal Ambassadors are people from the community who bring their pets to visit patients at the hospital. Volunteers and their pets must go through a comprehensive screening and training process in order to be certified to participate in the program. Animal Ambassadors visit patient rooms by request only.

It’s a proven fact that patients in hospitals who have regular visits from pets are more receptive to medical treatment and nourishment. People become more active and responsive both during and after visiting with animals. This is because animals have a special way of taking the human mind off of loneliness, grief, pain and fear.

Studies have shown that petting a dog can reduce a person’s blood pressure, cholesterol levels, regulate heart rates and reduce stress. Petting an animal also encourages using hands and arms, as well as stretching and turning.

A visit from an Animal Ambassador offers entertainment and gives patients something to look forward to. Pets even help people interact socially. They give people a common interest and provide a focus for conversation.

Many people in hospitals have had to give up pet ownership, and as a result, miss the unconditional love of a pet. Unlike people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention.

Animal Ambassadors serve as yet another benefit to patients who choose Riverside Medical Center for their healthcare needs.

To inquire about having an Animal Ambassador visit your room while you are at the hospital, call 5653 to reach Patient Care Services. From outside the hospital, and for any Animal Ambassador questions, please call 815-935-7509, or email Jessica Macias at jmacias@rhc.net.