Marcel (‘le Corgi’) delights patients at University Hospital Lewisham
A very important four legged friend visited University Hospital Lewisham (UHL) on Monday 11 September. He is Marcel ‘Le Corgi’ a four year old Pembroke Welsh corgi, who as well as being a traveller, model (with nearly 60k followers on Instagram!) and blogger, is also a therapy dog with Therapaws, and came to see patients on the elderly care ward.
His visit was organised by Ginnie Adamson, Dementia Specialist Nurse at the Trust, as part of its commitment to patient experience and to mark World Alzheimer’s month which takes place each September.
Ginnie said: “I have worked in mental health for many years and the benefits of taking animals into the care setting to engage with older people are well recognised. This could be hospitals, care homes, day centres or hospices. For those who are receiving palliative care being able to say goodbye to a much loved pet can be very important.
“Animals are known to have a very positive effect on people and can bring real health benefits. For those in hospital they have been seen to lower blood pressure and stress in patients and can unlock memories and emotions in those with dementia so this can give people a much needed connection with their past.
“Everyone, both staff and patients alike, were so happy to see Marcel and he loves the fuss and attention he gets. You can’t fail to be in a good mood and feel happy when Marcel is around.”
Avril Howel, a patient on Oak ward, said: “Seeing Marcel was a lovely way to break up my day. I love dogs and have one myself. Her name is Mandy and she is part Labrador and part collie and is a very pretty dog.
“This is the first time I have met Marcel and I have to say he is a very handsome dog and is very loving. He certainly loves the camera! I was trying to get him to give me a kiss but he was too interested in my cheese and jelly babies but he did give me one eventually! I hope there will be more visits from Marcel as they are very important.”
Patients are not able to bring in their own animals into hospital. Therapy dogs are assessed by an appropriate organisation before they can visit patients in hospital to ensure they have a good temperament and will not jump up on vulnerable patients. An infection control review is also undertaken, both to ensure the safety of patients and the therapy dogs, as animals can pick up human infections. However, the overarching principle is that of common sense and ensuring that patients cleanse their hands after they have touched the dog.
Notes to editors
Marcel is a therapy dog with Therapaws, a visiting animal therapy programme delivered by Mayhew, whose mission it is to help animals in need gain a better quality of life by delivering a broad range of community-based animal care, education and welfare projects. https://www.themayhew.org/
More information about Marcel can be found here: https://www.lecorgi.com/about
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