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.

Ellen’s Glen Hospital recognised the benefits of therapy animals in enhancing patient wellbeing. With the aim of improving patient care, the ward applied to NHS Lothian Charity to support the visits.

Therapy animals offer a range of benefits for both patients and staff. Interactions with animals can reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness among patients. Additionally, spending time with therapy animals has been shown to improve mood and enhance overall well-being.

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

By recognising the importance of emotional well-being alongside medical treatment, NHS Lothian continues to prioritise holistic care for its patients. 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 Small Grants funding to improve patient care

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