Dog visits helping hospitalized pregnant women

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For women who are restricted to hospitalized bed rest during pregnancy it can be a stressful and difficult time. For 16 years one hospital has been trying to make things easier for anxious bed rest patients by allowing them to be visited by their dogs.

For five weeks Jesi Roskop has been at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. She is pregnant with her fourth child and has complications that require her to be monitored and kept on bed rest. In addition to visits from her husband and three children Roskop also gets to enjoy visits from Milo, her min dachshund. “To me, this is one of my kids,” said Roskop. “It makes it feel more like home, it’s comforting, you know.”

Doctor’s at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center think the visits from patient’s dogs are beneficial to the patient’s health. “We know that when the body is less stressed there’s less complications,” said Dr. Angela Gray. “And so if an animal can provide decreased stress and happiness, then that would be a bonus for our patients, and us.”

The dogs must have permission before entering the hospital. They must have been properly checked by a veterinarian and have received all necessary vaccinations before entering the hospital. The hospital also requires the dog be bathed 24 hours prior to visiting the hospital. The visits are not only beneficial to the patients, but Roskop believes that the visits have been beneficial to Milo as well. “They’re just like anybody else, more time away from them makes them sad too,” she said.

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