The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) has welcomed its newest member of staff – Jaz the Red Setter.
As part of its ongoing commitment to improve patient experience, the L&D have been working with national charity Pets As Therapy (PAT), to provide therapeutic sessions for dog-loving patients. Jaz and his owner Karin will be at the hospital’s Therapy Hub every Wednesday afternoon for patients to visit and engage with.
Allowing interaction with pets helps to promote an overall sense of wellbeing for patients, combating feelings of loneliness and stress through the huge amounts of affection they provide, also helping to relieve symptoms of anxiety and even reducing physical issues such as pain.
Jaz, now complete with his very own hospital pass has been specially trained by Karin to provide companionship and friendship to individuals in public environments. All PAT registered dogs are behaviourally assessed to ensure safety and health requirements are met before being introduced to the hospital.
Sheran Oke, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the L&D said: “This is something we have wanted to do for a while and I’m delighted that Karin has joined us as a volunteer so that Jaz can meet with our patients on a regular basis. It’s great to see the impact that Jaz has already made by spreading cheer here at the L&D, and I am sure he will make a significant contribution to our patients’ wellbeing.”
Jaz’s owner, Karin Stay said: “I am delighted to be working as a volunteer with my Red Setter, Jaz. He is a real people person and he just loves his new role as a Pets as Therapy dog at the L&D.
Jaz has previous experience working with elderly people at local care homes and it is amazing to see the difference that he can make to the quality of life for the many people that he meets. Jaz will be visiting the L&D on a weekly basis and we both look forward to being part of the wider support team at the hospital.”
Initial feedback following Jaz’s interaction sessions has been extremely positive and the Trust is already recruiting another PAT dog due to the overwhelming response.