Pet Therapy and Seniors
The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) Foundation, the non-profit research and education arm of AMDA, invites you to meet two dogs that have a key role in caring for long term care facility residents. Come meet Sophie and Tessa and hear from their owner, a facility medical director, and other physicians about the power of pets in their facilities and the miraculous role they play in helping and healing.
The briefing will take place during AMDA's annual symposium, "Long Term Care Medicine 2010," on Friday, March 12, at 10:30AM at the AMDA Foundation booth in the lobby area of the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.
- Karl Steinberg, MD, CMD, Physician Editor of Caring for the Ages and a nursing facility medical director in the Los Angeles area who takes his dogs to work with him.
- Daniel Haimowitz, MD, CMD, a Pennsylvania-based nursing home and assisted living facility medical director and physician who takes his dog, Spenser, to work with him.
- Sophie, a 10-year-old standard poodle who works with Dr. Steinberg and his patients almost daily.
- Tessa, a 4-year-old cockapoo who works with Dr. Steinberg and his patients almost daily.
- Joanne Kaldy, Senior Contributing Writer for Caring for the Ages and author of numerous articles about the value of animal-assisted therapy.
Ms. Kaldy will open the program by providing background on the evolution of animal-assisted therapy and the role of pets in long term care facilities. Drs. Steinberg and Haimowitz will share their personal stories of patients whose lives have been touched-even changed-by their dogs. They also will talk about how their canine companions provide motivation, inspiration, and joy for them and their interdisciplinary teams. Sophie and Tessa will greet reporters and demonstrate their ability to charm, comfort, and amuse their patients.
Members of the media will receive a bag of pet-related items, including an 18-month calendar featuring dogs that work in long term care facilities across the country.
Several studies have documented the positive impact the presence of animals has on long term care facility residents. As a result, many facilities have resident animals or programs that provide visits from pets in the community at large; and some even allow residents to have their own pets (as long as they are able to care for them). The AMDA Foundation is has produced a calendar to document the role of dogs in enhancing resident quality of life and to recognize those canine caregivers who make a difference in the lives of elderly residents. The document features photos and stories of these caring canines.
Although a recent study suggested that animals may carry germs such as MRSA or C. Difficile diarrhea on their fur or paws, more studies have documented the benefits of animals in helping patients with depression, dementia, and other illnesses. In fact, the practitioners who bring their dogs to work say that they have had few problems or complaints from anyone about their best friends. On the contrary, patients, staff, and even visiting families look forward to seeing the pups and welcome their presence.
With the culture change movement spreading throughout long term care, more facilities than ever are seeking to make their settings as homelike and comfortable as possible. And many see having pets around as a key part of these efforts. Anyone who has seen a smile light up of the face of an elderly person when a dog enters the room is likely to understand why.
To RSVP or arrange private interviews, contact Joanne Kaldy at JoKaldyCooper@aol.com or 240/527-9848.
To read about the dogs featured in the Caring Canines calendar, go to http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103143230115&s=21575&e=001TW9fLhpOrA3p-eYcQuyBT7OdLaIgcCZkRGzcPYD1-ONiLh6W6dGG7jst1C35wOW5TXI4e8fcs9VkcQWO-0lDB_9RTJldH2kU0zy9igTUsStrz8xE7y25_15PDca4NyO59lf5d4YemdvAEXehkC_vU1fBO59r7Jss1kNgJWCkDx4=
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