Sunday November 17, 2019

Melania Trump Visits Hospital’s ‘Cuddle’ Program for Babies Exposed to Opioids in Womb

The hospital developed the program to nurture babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome

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Melania Trump, Hospital, Cuddle
First lady Melania Trump, left, accompanied by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, walks with staff during a visit to Boston Medical Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, Nov. 6, 2019. VOA

Melania Trump is visiting a Boston hospital’s cuddling program that aims to help infants born dependent on drugs or alcohol.

The first lady’s stop Wednesday at Boston Medical Center is part of her “Be Best” initiative.

The hospital developed the program to nurture babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The hospital also works with expectant mothers who misuse drugs or alcohol.

Mrs. Trump told hospital administrators she hopes her visit will focus more attention on their work.

Melania Trump, Hospital, Cuddle
The first lady’s stop Wednesday at Boston Medical Center is part of her “Be Best” initiative. Pixabay

She was joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Dozens of workers at the hospital gathered outside to protest the first lady’s visit.

Also Read- Judge Rejects Trump’s Moral-Objection Rule for Health Care

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley says the Trump administration’s tough stance on immigration is discouraging people from seeking health care for fear of arrest and deportation. (VOA)

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Therapy Dogs Befriend Patients in ICU

Therapy dogs help patients in ICU by reducing their stress

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Study says that dogs can help reduce stress and anxiety among humans. Pixabay

Studies show when people pet an animal, their blood pressure goes down along with stress and anxiety. That’s why there are so many therapy dogs in schools, counseling centers and even in hospitals.

Taz wags his tail when he greets patients at the University of Missouri Hospital. Taz and Bruce Miller are part of a therapy dog team.

“He gets a lot of attention — haha — and he loves the attention,” Miller said.

Taz is trained to provide comfort and emotional support to the patients he visits. And while no one wants to be in a hospital, Kevin Gwin’s job is to make sure a stay at the University of Missouri Hospital is a positive one.

“I think sometimes patients feel isolated,” Gwin said. “They get out here, it’s lonely, it’s boring. And the dogs are something to look forward to, and when they visit, the whole unit comes alive.”

Fourteen-year-old Peyton Waldren loved having Taz visit him.

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Dogs help patients by making them feel less lonely in hospitals. Pixabay

“I was just really excited because I havenʼt seen a dog in a really long time, so, it made me happy,” Waldren said. “I didnʼt think about my pain, I didnʼt think about what else was gonna happen.”

Therapy dogs are even in the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. They visit patients who are well enough to interact with the dogs.

Marlena Casey is the two-legged partner of a therapy dog team that includes Molly, a black Labrador retriever. Casey said the training is rigorous.

“We went through training for about three years, both in classes, and then alone by myself,” Casey said. “And she passed her test in April.”

But actual research on how these dogs impact patients doesn’t exist. Megan Hosey, a psychologist, has initiated a study to see if these dogs improve patients’ well-being.

“Our review of previous literature found that patients who are in settings like hospitals, nursing homes and psychiatric facilities have benefits from working with therapy animals that include improved mood, reductions in pain, improvements in heart rate and heart rate variability and, just in general, better engagement with their medical care,”  Hosey said.

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Therapy dogs in hospitals visit patients who are well enough to interact with the dogs. Pixabay

Yet there is no hard data to prove any of this. One of the things Hosey wants to examine is if patients are more motivated to follow doctors’ orders after visits by a therapy dog.

Another area is to see if patients visited by these dogs have improved moods, which could also affect their medical outcomes.

Also Read- Mental Health Disorders Drive Children and Adolescents to Risky, Self-Destructive Behavior

Hosey said the study will be completed in about two years. Then she and the rest of the medical community will have data on the impact therapy dogs have on patients. (VOA)