Pediatric patients at the University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital look especially forward to Thursdays. That’s when the hospital’s weekly “Pet Therapy” program pays a visit.
Each Thursday afternoon, specially trained dogs go room-to-room to see the youngsters and brighten their day. However, with the number of hospitalized children increasing, there’s a need for more dogs to join the Pet Therapy program at Children’s & Women’s.
“Pet therapy is a winning program for patients and their families, our staff and volunteers, and the community as a whole,” Belinda Baggett, director of volunteer services at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said. The program is operated through the hospital’s Volunteer Services department.
Dogs and their handlers must be screened by the hospital and meet the requirements set by the Delta Society, a human-services organization dedicated to improving people's health and well-being through positive interactions with animals. Presently, the hospital’s auxiliary is offering two scholarships for training. This will cover the text manual, registration with the Delta Society and testing fees. For more information, call 666-6589 or 602-1612.
USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is among fewer than ten freestanding hospitals in the country dedicated specifically to the health care needs of children and women, offering Mobile’s only neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, pediatric oncology and sickle cell outpatient center and high-risk obstetrical care. With more than 2,800 births annually, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the area’s leader in deliveries.
A major expansion that will nearly double the size of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is scheduled to be completed in 2013, recognizing the community’s validation of the hospital’s quality of care and the hospital’s opportunity to continue to meet the needs of a varied and growing population.
For more information about USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, please visit www.southalabama.edu/usacwh or call (251) 415-1000.