The program ‘Huellas en el Corazón’ is a new approach to dog-assisted interventions in the hospital environment, placing it as an integrated action in the Humanization Plan of both hospitals.
The Cátedra Animales y Sociedad of the URJC develops, in collaboration with the association of experts Perruneando Malaga and Cordoba, the project ‘Huellas en el corazón’, a program of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) implemented in the Pediatric Unit of the Hospital de la Axarquia in Malaga and the Reina Sofia Hospital in Cordoba, in order to intervene on the most frequent diagnoses in pediatric patients in each hospital center, working on the self-management of anxiety, fear, the risk of low situational self-esteem and pain during the time of hospitalization or prior to the medical consultation.
“The actions of the dogs and the professionals of ‘Huellas en el Corazón’ provide enormous emotional support in different pediatric areas of the center, mainly during hospital stays and pediatric consultations, managing to reduce the stress levels of minors, pain or self-concept. In addition, the presence of this human-animal team also serves to address certain medical and nursing techniques thanks to the states of calm that they help to generate in children and, therefore, this project has been extended to the nursing area in both hospitals”; explains Nuria Máximo, director of the Cátedra Animales y Sociedad at the URJC.
Thus, this program represents a new approach to dog-assisted interventions in the hospital environment, becoming an integrated action in the Humanization Plan of each center and being developed both in the pediatric ward, attending hospitalized children, and in the waiting rooms of pediatric consultations; attending children from eight months to adolescence, although the most frequent age range is usually between three and ten years old.