Labrador Retriever Teddy providing therapy for people struggling with their mental health at ward in Morpeth
A dementia therapy dog is having a positive impact on people struggling with their mental health.
Labrador Retriever Teddy, part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW)’s Older Adults Services provision, comes into Woodhorn Ward at St George’s Park in Morpeth three times a week and has become a well-known face on site.
Owned by advanced nurse practitioner Julie Young, she provides holistic care – not only for patients, but to families and staff.
She has helped to improve patients’ physiological, psychological, emotional and social well-being.
Julie said: “We thought Teddy would make a good therapy dog because of her good-natured temperament.
“Having her on the ward has encouraged conversations and interaction among patients. It has been particularly beneficial for people with dementia, enabling them to connect with something familiar.
“Sometimes people see her as their own dog, which gives a sense of ownership and achievement.
“Teddy has helped de-escalate situations on the ward as she aids engagement and provides a calming distraction. There’s something about Teddy that makes people relax.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of staff on the ward and the wider trust.”
Staff on Woodhorn say Teddy made a big difference to their well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic when it was a stressful time on the ward.
She has achieved her basic companionship award at Northumberland Canine Centre and is currently training for her intermediate award.
Tracy Eccleston, clinical lead physiotherapist at CNTW, said: “The ways Teddy can help our patients are endless. They can take her for a walk to improve their mood and promote physical activity.
“People on our ward don’t always want to go for a walk, but this is something that’s task-orientated and gives them a sense of purpose.”
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