Max the dog and Doncaster NHS worker Carola Tramsen working as a team to help dementia patients

A South Yorkshire occupational therapist has a special four-legged helper – her dog, Max.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:56 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 4:42 pm
Occupational therapist Carola Tramsen and her trained therapy dog Max are helping elderly people with dementia in Doncaster

Carola Tramsen trained Max as a Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT) dog who is visiting wards and putting smiles on patients’ faces.

She works as a team leader at Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) in the Memory Therapy Service.

A PAT dog is used to help people with dementia and other general mental health conditions.

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Carola has done a lot of research into Pet Assisted Therapy and the benefits it can have on people with these types of conditions.

She has gathered experience with Animal Assisted Therapy involving horses, dogs and small pets for many years.

Carola said: “Max is great for the pet lovers who miss their own dogs while being on the wards. He triggers conversation and allows patients with dementia to reminisce.

“He stimulates the patients and helps them to feel better. Patients often present far less withdrawn in the dog’s presence.

“We have many touching examples of where Max has been a great help to some of our patients with dementia and mental health conditions.

“On one occasion he has helped someone living with depression who would not communicate - after meeting Max this patient would open up to speak to people.

“I have also received a lot of positive feedback from staff, who observe the animal encounters.”

The Memory Therapy Service provides services in Doncaster for people living with dementia.