Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital welcomes special canine guest

Therapy dog Nova, handler visit patients as part of volunteer program

LAKE FOREST – Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital patients and staff received a special visitor in April. Nova, a therapy dog, and her handler Jamie Gross paid a visit to offer comfort and joy to those at the hospital.

This was the first therapy dog visit at the hospital. It is led by Northwestern Medicine trained animal handlers as part of the Northwestern Medicine volunteer program.

In addition to the enjoyment of having a therapy dog around to cheer people up, there are documented benefits of animal assisted activity visits for patients and staff including:

  • Decreased use of pharmacological interventions by distraction, decreasing stress, pain, anxiety and depression
  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Increased motor movement
  • Improved motivation, stimulation and support
  • Improved cardiovascular health by lowering heart rate and pressure

“We were thrilled to welcome Nova to our hospital who brought smiles and healing to both our staff and our patients,” said Karen Mahnke MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Bernthal Family Chief Nurse executive at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. “It was a wonderful addition to our caring and healing environment.”

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital plans on hosting other therapy dogs in the future.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois