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Montefiore Nyack Hospital emphasizes culturally competent care with service animal staff training

Providing culturally competent care is an integral part of an affirming patient experience. Healthcare providers can improve positive engagements with individuals who use service animals by increasing awareness of the role a service animal plays in a patient’s well-being and recovery. In 2022, Montefiore Nyack Hospital partnered with Pace University’s College of Health Professions to offer specialized service animal training for staff.

In July 2022, Joanne Singleton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FNAP, FNYAM, FAAN, associate dean (interim) and professor at Lienhard School of Nursing, College of Health Professions, Pace University and founder of Canines Assisting in Health (CAsH), presented a hands-on education session for 20 hospital employees. Together with “Pawfessor” Spirit — Dr. Singleton’s golden retriever service dog — staff participated in a program titled, “Big Shakes, Little Shakes.”

The program facilitates an appropriate introduction to the service animal handler (patient) and how to direct a service dog’s behavior in a controlled way to prevent distractions that might lead to patient or service dog injury. Using hands-on learning techniques with Pawfessor Spirit, the staff also engaged in Paws & Breathe®, an evidence-based intervention that combines diaphragmatic breathing and animal-assisted interventions to identify and manage stress.

For information about CAsH, contact Dr. Singleton at 646.499.0197 or jsingleton@pace.edu