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



In our 70th year, we’re celebrating some of the unique care offered to our patients, from innovative technology to mood-lifting therapies. We join therapy horse Lofty as he took one of his regular ‘ward rounds’ at Yeovil District Hospital.

Therapy horses like Lofty play an important part in the care of older and elderly patients in Yeovil, helping to boost the mood and memory of older people, including those living with dementia.

Studies suggest that physical contact with a pet can lower blood pressure, cause the release of endorphins and lead to a drop in stress hormones, providing much needed emotional support.

Further reading/references

Jorgenson, J. (1997). Therapeutic use of companion animals in health care.

Carmack, B. J., & Fila, D. (1989). Animal-assisted therapy: A nursing intervention. Nursing Management, 20(5), 96-101.

Nightingale, F. (1969). Notes on Nursing. p. 103. New York: Dover Publications. (Original work published 1860).

Hines, L., & Bustad, L. (1986, Spring). Historical perspectives on human animal interaction. Phi Kappa Phi Journal, 4-9.

Cherniack, E & Cherniack, A. (2014). The Benefits of Pets and Animal-Assisted Therapy to the Health of Older Individuals, Hindawi, Volume 2014.

Cherniack, E & Cherniack, A. (2012). The Effect of Using Pets as Therapy. Hindawi, Volume 2012.

Crane, L. (1999). Animals, Horseback Riding, and Implications for Rehabilitation Therapy. The Journal of Rehabilitation

O’Haire, M. (2015). Animal-Assisted Intrervention for Trauma, Including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. HABRI Central Brief

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