Therapy Dogs in the ICU: Ease Suffering of Patients

At Johns Hopkins, therapy dogs used with critically ill patients help in patient recovery.

Specially trained therapy dogs in the intensive care unit can substantially ease the physical and emotional suffering of patients, say clinicians.

Therapy dogs have long been welcome “nonpharmacological interventions” for less sick hospitalized patients, but their presence in the ICU is new for many hospitals.

A group of clinicians wrote in an editorial in the journal Critical Care that a therapy animal is “a great exemplar” of a non-drug intervention that can help critically ill patients become active and engaged in their own recovery as early as possible.

They based their conclusion on previously published studies and their own experiences in the Johns Hopkins Hospital medical ICU.

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