Donkey therapy brings joy to dementia patients at Lagan Valley Hospital

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Ward 11 at Lagan Valley Hospital welcomed some special donkey guests to the unit this week that brought smiles and joy to patients and staff.

Donkey therapy is a form of animal-assisted therapy that has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals with Dementia.

The gentle and calming presence of the donkeys can help reduce anxiety, improve mood and stimulate social interaction among patients.

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Patients in Ward 11, many of whom experience memory loss and confusion, were visibly brightened at the sight of the donkeys.

Staff from Ward 11 with the donkeys. Pic credit: SEHSCTStaff from Ward 11 with the donkeys. Pic credit: SEHSCT
Staff from Ward 11 with the donkeys. Pic credit: SEHSCT

They engaged with the animals through petting, feeding and simply enjoying their company.

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The interaction with the donkeys sparked conversations, reminiscence and a sense of connection, which are all vital elements in Dementia care.

South Eastern Trust Service Improvement Lead, Dementia Services, Fiona Rooney said: “Seeing our patients light up and engage with the donkeys was very heart-warming.

"Animal-assisted therapy can make a significant difference in the lives of those with Dementia."

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