Furry volunteer a welcome distraction for patients
Being in hospital can be a challenging time. While doctors, nurses and allied health professionals provide medical care, the mental and spiritual health of patients is also important. That’s where Caulfield Hospital’s furry volunteer Veezey can help.
Veezey is a 15-year-old Labrador mix belonging to Joe Sehee, a volunteer with Caulfield Hospital’s Pastoral and Spiritual Care team.
“Some people feel like their illness or injury defines them, and we come in to form a simple connection that can take their mind off of their physical condition and medical examinations,” Mr Sehee said.
Mr Sehee has been volunteering with Veezey since December and says it’s making a difference to patients’ lives.
“Some of these patients need meaning, or help reflecting on their lives, and a dog can be used to facilitate these conversations,” he said.
The experience of coming into hospital may be unexpected and difficult, with patients and families forced to confront hard choices. Mr Sehee is on-hand as a caring ‘ear’ for patients who need to chat.
“Sometimes it’s just a quick hello, and at other times it’s a longer conversation.”
Mr Sehee says patients who’ve been in hospital for an extended period of time can feel a loss of connection with the outside world and nature.
“They enjoy contact with Veezey and she helps people who may be missing touch.
“It brings a lot of meaning and purpose to my life and I like to think that I am alleviating suffering in some way.”