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One Year Anniversary of AARC Program at BHC

Updated: 7 days ago

The pilot project for the Animal Assited Recovery Care (ARRC) program at the Bustamante Hospital for Children commemorated its one-year anniversary on May 30, 2024. At the celebration ceremony held at PROMAC Courtyard on the hospital grounds, Dr. Marsha James, Programme Coordinator and Consultant Ear, Nose, and Throat, BHC, said that the program has been doing well since its launch in March 2023. She explained that the animals visit the hospital every third Thursday of the month, yielding positive results not only for the patients but for the staff as well. The animals who are part of the program are Dr. Teddy Barks, who is the ambassador for the program; rabbits; two puppies who were later adopted; one cat named Shae; a hamster named Hammy; a turtle named Sparkles; and a snake. The project is a multi-agency initiative that is being piloted primarily through BHC. Dr. James noted that the program was introduced to the hospital in December 2022, and was the brainchild of Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness. 

 

Dr. Tufton first announced the intervention in Parliament in November 2022. Addressing the launch ceremony on March 28, 2023, he noted that animal-assisted support is globally recognized as having various benefits for both patients and providers while providing a ‘One Health Approach’ to healthcare delivery. “This One Health Approach, the World Health Organization (WHO) tells us, recognizes the interconnection between the health of humans and the environment and the multiple benefits, including the positive psychosocial development that can come from humans interacting and bonding with animals for health,” he pointed out.

 

The project also has a research component, which will allow the facility to gather data on the impact of the intervention on the healthcare system.

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