Pets As Therapy visit inpatient wards at Sunflowers Court | News and events

Pets As Therapy visit inpatient wards at Sunflowers Court | News and events

Main Menu

Nelft logo


NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

Pets As Therapy visit inpatient wards at Sunflowers Court

Patients in our older adult and frailty wards, Stage and Cook, at Sunflowers Court inpatient unit in Goodmayes were visited by Pets As Therapy (PAT), a national charity founded in 1983 who look to enhance health and wellbeing in the community through visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals.

The wards were visited by Izzy the dog and her owner Sally Birbeck and, as soon as they entered the wards, the patient's face lit up. Patients who have been more difficult to engage were keen to join the session and overall anxiety and aggression levels were visibly reduced.

A daughter of one of the patients who was visiting at the time said: "Today for the first time, a dog came onto the ward to visit patients and I was amazed. The absolute joy and comfort the experience gave to the patients were immediately apparent. They were calm and happy and the atmosphere was joyous, for the first time I saw a glimmer of the people they used to be. I was totally overwhelmed with the benefits which were instantaneous."

Izzy the dog made such a difference to the patients on the wards she visited, Caroline O'Donnell, ARD ICD, has nominated her for a Make a Difference award. Caroline said: "The project was so well received  by the patients and the clinical team that I have chosen to nominate Izzy and the Pets as Therapy team for the impact they have had on our inpatients on our older adult mental health wards."

Pictured above (l-r): Michelle Summerbell-Dobson, occupational therapist; Simon Eustace, Stage ward patient; Izzy, PAT dog; Noreen Scannell, patients daughter and Sally Birbeck, PAT volunteer.