Health

Hospital Makes use of Remedy Canines To Consolation Frontline Medical Staff Battling COVID-19 Pandemic – CBS Baltimore

ORANGE, Ca. (CBS NEWS) — Saturday, October 10, is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. COVID-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S.

At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern California, therapy dogs Dexter and Monet have an important mission, to bring smiles and comfort to healthcare workers. The dogs are part of the hospital’s volunteer pet therapy program, visiting employees once a month.

Brad Giafaglione oversees the program and says it’s more crucial than ever.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

“We really needed a way to decompress and destress our staff,” he said. “We thought to ourselves, if it works well for the patients, why wouldn’t it work well for our staff?”

Healthcare workers are vulnerable to burnout from their high-stress jobs. Recent international studies show during the pandemic, some workers are reporting high rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD.

A recent global survey from KPMG found 59% of healthcare workers said their mental health had worsened due to the pandemic, that’s compared to 51% in industries outside of healthcare.

“This is a new pandemic and new front that we’re all facing,” ICU nurse Brian Cruz, who cares for critically ill COVID patients, said.

Cruz says the pressure of the crisis has been tremendous. But thanks to the cuddly canines in the pet therapy program, that stress slips away for a little.

“Seeing him happy, the energy transfers over to me, and I feel calm,” he said.

Cruz says he has felt periods of depression and sadness, but the dogs help him through them.

For Cruz, the furry faces and belly rubs are the perfect prescriptions.

“This is natural happiness and joy from a creature to a creature, and that will help me give that joy and happiness to my patients when I return to work,” he said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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