Lofty the therapy horse brings joy to older people at Yeovil District Hospital

Lofty the therapy horse brings joy to older people at Yeovil District Hospital

In our 70th year, we’re celebrating some of the unique care offered to our patients, from innovative technology to mood-lifting therapies. Here, we join therapy horse Lofty as he took one of his regular ‘ward rounds’ at Yeovil District Hospital.

Therapy horses like Lofty play an important part in the care of older and elderly patients in Yeovil, helping to boosting the mood and memory of older people, including those living with dementia.

Studies suggest that physical contact with a pet can lower blood pressure, cause the release of endorphins and lead to a drop in stress hormones, providing much needed emotional support.

Janine Valentine, Consultant Nurse at Yeovil District Hospital said, “We have a small dementia care team here, and we offer lots of therapeutic interventions. We recognise that our care it isn’t just about medical treatment – drugs fluids, and those kinds of things. We heard about Lofty visiting a care home and we thought that he would be perfect.

“He started coming to visit in the gardens, and we would bring patients down to see him, but it soon became apparent that some of our patients were missing out, so we made a plan to ensure he could safely come onto the ward.”

Dr Kahlid Rashed, Consultant in Stroke Services added, “It’s an absolutely fantastic form of therapy for our patients, including the elderly and the frail. People love animals, and he comes in and cheers people up – it really improves their morale while they are in hospital.”

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