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

August 30, 2019

>>Janine Valentine: we have a small dementia
care team here and we offer lots of therapeutic interventions if you like. We recognise it
isn’t just about coming in and having medical care, drugs, fluids, those kind of things.
We heard about Lofty visiting a care home so we thought that would be perfect.
He started coming to visit in the garden, so he’d come into the garden, and we’d
bring patients down here, just because it felt like a bit of a leap taking a horse onto
the wards. Then it soon became apparent that there were quite a few patients that felt
like they were missing out. They couldn’t get down to the garden and
a lot of staff that also felt like they were missing out. We managed to sort out a plan to be able to take him onto the wards.>>Paul Foster: this is a therapy that makes a difference it makes patients happy and, of course, it doesn’t have any side effects associated with it. It really is just an attempt to bring some
interaction with nature into the environment of the ward.>>Patient: Ah bless him, you beautiful>>Dr Khalid Rashed: he’s an absolutely fantastic
form of therapy to our patients, particularly the elderly, the frail, those with memory
problems. People love their animals. He comes in and cheers people up and lifts their morale
and really improves their mood while they’re in hospital.
>Sylvia: I never experienced anything like that before, but it makes you feel eager to
get outdoors again. It’s encouraging for animals to be brought
into hospitals to give you the sense to hurry up to get better. You forget why you’re
in hospital.>>April Kibby: you see the smiles on people’s
faces when they suddenly see this little horse and it really brightens their
day. You can tell it really, really makes a difference to them.>>Visitor: I think that made Pauline’s day.>>Pauline: he fancied my bed he did.
The reaction of Lofty has given me a buzz in my guts.
>>Visitor: you love animals don’t you?>>Pauline: yes, I’d take them all home with me if I could.>>Janine Valentine: There are often very emotional
reactions but there was one particular man, I remember,
who absolutely sobbed and hugged Lofty when he visited him. It was happy tears, it was
very emotional but he was absolutely overwhelmed by it. We were able to take a photograph
with him and laminate it and give it back to him so he had a reminder of it.

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