Therapy animals return to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog Anusha on the Ingham ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog Anusha on the Ingham ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Animal volunteers have returned to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) for the first time since the pandemic began. 

The four-legged helpers provide animal assisted therapy to inpatients at the hospital to support their wellbeing and recovery. 

The Trust joined forces with Pets As Therapy (PAT) to provide this therapy three years ago, but visits were suspended due to the pandemic. 

Pet Assisted Therapy dog Anusha on the Heydon Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog Anusha on the Heydon Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Chris Branson and his eight-year-old collie Anusha have been the first to resume PAT visits on August 17. 

Joe Rejek, older peoples medicine volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to have so many of our volunteers returning to help the Trust over the last few months and we are thrilled to welcome the much-valued Pets As Therapy team back to our hospital. 

“The companionship of a dog and their handler can aid recovery, stimulate conversation, encourage movement and social interaction.” 

Further visits have been planned for other wards at the hospital. 

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Human owners will be following infection measures to protect patients, and are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.