Dec. 2, 2011 – Man's best friend can also be his best medicine. At Hallmark Health's Melrose-Wakefield Hospital patients recently began getting weekly visits from Cooper, a 2-year-old terrier mix, through the hospital's new pet therapy program. This type of care is proven to improve patient outcomes by reducing anxiety and stress levels, providing patients with a distraction from their illness and making the hospital experience more “home like.” The feedback hospital clinicians have received has been nothing but positive, with one patient saying visiting with Cooper was the best part of her day.

“The response from patients and clinicians alike has been tremendous,” said Jodi Dwyer, medical social worker at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “We began looking at this type of program more than a year ago and it’s great to see it come to fruition and having such a positive impact on our patients.”

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.

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