Numerous studies have shown that interacting with animals can have significant physiological and psychological benefits for people.
The presence of a friendly companion animal can help to lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation, and foster a greater sense of well-being. In fact, simply petting an animal can trigger the release of beneficial hormones that enhance mood
Animal-assisted activities/therapy (sometimes referred to as "pet therapy") is a visit or series of visits from a volunteer AAA/T team (a handler and his or her dog) to a patient or family who has requested them through their hospice care team. These visits are intended to encourage emotional connection, alleviate stress and feelings of isolation, and promote self-esteem. They can also provide opportunities for life review and the sharing of memories and stories.
During a visit from an AAA/T team, the patient and/or family members can:
Providence Hospice of Seattle is a registered facility with Connecting Canines and Delta Society, both internationally recognized organizations that set standards for animal-assisted activities/therapy. Our volunteer AAA/T teams are rigorously screened for appropriateness in working with hospice patients and families. Handlers and their dogs must pass a certification with a specialized hospice team evaluation. In addition, handlers must successfully complete our Core and Patient Care volunteer trainings.
Providence Hospice of Seattle's volunteer AAA/T teams visit hospice patients and families in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult family homes, and appropriate private residences. AAA/T teams are typically assigned to patients/families based on their geographic location and availability.
While the primary focus of each visit is on the interaction of the dog with the patient and/or family members, volunteer AAA/T handlers are also trained to be a compassionate presence and provide emotional support as needed.
To become an AAA/T volunteer with Providence Hospice of Seattle, you must:
Please note that at this time, Providence Hospice of Seattle only accepts Pet Partners teams with dogs.
For more information, or to request that a volunteer application be mailed to you, please contact Volunteer Services at 206-320-4000 or 888-782-4445, or via e-mail at HOSvolunteerservices@providence.org.