Wednesday November 20, 2019
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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)

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Report: Express Grieving Conditions for Sanitation Workers in Developing Countries

Authors of the report say sanitation workers in developing countries largely operate in the informal sector

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Developing Countries
Sanitation workers are the people who work in jobs such as cleaning toilets, emptying pits and septic tanks, cleaning sewage and manholes and operating pumping stations and treatment plants, but their Condition is not good in Developing Countries. Wikimedia Commons

A new report by leading health and safety agencies finds millions of sanitation workers in Developing Countries are forced to work under horrific conditions that put their health and lives at risk.

Sanitation workers everywhere occupy the lowest rung of society and are stigmatized and marginalized because they do the dirty work that other people do not want to do.

The report’s authors – the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and Water Aid – say they hope to raise awareness on the plight of sanitation workers and the dehumanizing conditions under which they are forced to work. For example, the report says that many sanitation workers aren’t given the safety training or equipment needed to protect them when handling effluent or fecal sludge.

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier says sanitation workers make an important contribution to public health at the risk of their own lives. Poor sanitation, he says, causes more than 430,000 deaths from diarrhea every year and is linked to the spread of other diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis A and polio.

“Sanitation workers are the people who work in jobs such as cleaning toilets, emptying pits and septic tanks, cleaning sewage and manholes and operating pumping stations and treatment plants.… Waste must be correctly treated before being disposed of or used. However, workers often come into direct contact with human waste, working with no equipment or no protection to remove it by hand which exposes them to a long list of health hazards and diseases,” Lindmeier said.

Developing Countries
A new report by leading health and safety agencies finds millions of Sanitation Workers in Developing Countries are forced to work under horrific conditions that put their health and lives at risk. VOA

Authors of the report say sanitation workers in developing countries largely operate in the informal sector. They labor under abusive conditions, have no rights or social protections and are poorly paid.

ALSO READ: WHO Demands Strict Regulations on Vaping Products

The study calls on countries to rectify these wrongs. It urges governments to enact laws and regulations that improve working conditions for sanitation workers and protect their safety and health. It says sanitation workers must be given the equipment and training necessary for the safe, proper disposal of waste. (VOA)