DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger is asking for “all paws on deck” as Geisinger Medical Center is recruiting new canine volunteers for its therapy dog program to help meet the overwhelming demand for the program’s puppy love.
The program has gained in popularity and without an increase in pup and human volunteers, the program won’t be able to make as many visits to those who need a lift in spirits during their healing process. The Caring Canines program at Geisinger visits inpatient units throughout the facility to interact with patients and staff, promoting stress relief and improving physical and mental health.
“Our therapy dog program brings great benefit to patients and staff,” said Diane Pardoe, volunteer coordinator at Geisinger Medical Center. “The dogs provide comfort and smiles to our patients, which can help with reducing depression and anxiety that can come along with stays in the hospital.”
Along with a gain in popularity from patients, Pardoe reported that the program is seeing fewer volunteers. Its current group of dogs and handlers is about half of the amount of volunteers the program typically sees. Times for therapy dog visits are flexible to cater to the schedules of handlers – including weekend hours.
Volunteer handlers must go through Geisinger volunteer training and the dog must be Therapy Dog International certified. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering in the therapy dog program at Geisinger Medical Center, contact volunteer services at 570-271-8150.
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine became the newest member of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 551,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $10.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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