13 February 2024

Enhancing Wellbeing Through Therapy Animals at Ellen’s Glen Hospital

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NHS Lothian staff are supporting patients wellbeing through innovative approaches to care.

Patients at Ellen’s Glen Hospital were delighted to welcome therapy ponies Willow and Flicker on a recent visit. As well as excitement and enjoyment, the ponies help patients by reducing stress and anxiety, as well as helping them feel connected to animals and nature during their stay in hospital.

Bringing therapy animals into wards also helps to reduce feelings of loneliness, improve mood and enhance overall wellbeing.

Two therapy ponies with a member of NHS Lothian staff

The presence of the animals, particularly after the visit from the therapy ponies, filled the ward with smiles and laughter. The unique sight of staff, patients and their loved ones engaging with animals has resulted in shared moments of joy and connection. One staff member said:

The patients and staff love the interaction with the animals and birds. It lifts their mood and brightens up the day. Staff get a huge kick out seeing the animals but also the expression on the patient’s faces. Our relatives love it too and are always keen to get in on the act.”

NHS Lothian Staff, Ellen’s Glen Hospital

NHS Lothian continues to prioritise holistic care for its patients, recognising the importance of emotional wellbeing in complementing the medical care. Through the simple joy of interacting with animals, patients, staff, and their relatives find moments of happiness and connections on their way towards recovery.

Do you have an idea to improve patient care?

Up to £5,000 is available through our Small Grants programme to support NHS Lothian staff take forward projects that demonstrate a clear benefit to NHS Lothian patients.

Find out how others have used charity funding to support patient care

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