Section: Barnabas Health Home Care and Hospice News

Call for Four-Footed Friends to Visit Hospice Patients


Essex, Morris and Union, NJ -- On Wednesday, May 8, Paws for Patients, the hospice canine therapy program offered to patients of the Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center, will host the first in a four-session volunteer training program in West Orange. The program, designed for dog owners interested in volunteering to visit hospice patients and families with their dog(s), seeks volunteers to visit patients in Essex, Morris and Union Counties.

In order to participate in the “Paws” program, a dog owner must complete the four-session training program and his/her dog(s) must complete and pass a therapy dog qualification administered by a recognized pet therapy organization. Each volunteer team will be assigned to patients receiving hospice care who live in close proximity to the volunteer’s town of residence.Please note that this training is not for therapy dog certification. Canine certification must be received independently by a recognized pet therapy organization. Participants are asked not to bring their dog to this training.

The training program is designed to give new volunteers insight into the needs and challenges of patients and families who are coping with advanced illness. Among the topics covered are an overview of hospice care, listening skills and bereavement issues.

The training program will be offered as follows. Registration is required. To register or for more information, please contact Laurie Berkman,Paws for Patients Program Coordinator, at 973-322-4847 or

  • Wednesday, May 8 and May 22; Tuesday, May 14; and Thursday, May 16; from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
    Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center, West Orange

“The therapeutic use of dogs in health care settings has been proven to help orient patients and it provides a pleasant and happy diversion during a difficult time,” explains Berkman. “Dogs increase relaxation, reduce feelings of isolation and even lower blood pressure in patients. We are pleased to be able to offer this wonderful new program to our patients and families.”

About Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center
The health care team at Barnabas Health’s Hospice and Palliative Care Centers has been privileged to serve more than 52,000 patients and their families during one of the most personal times of their lives. Specially trained experts in end-of-life care are honored to provide comprehensive and compassionate medical, emotional and spiritual care at a time when it is needed most. Our programs, which serve infants, children, adults and the elderly, honor the individual choices and values of each patient and family, while offering full access to the broad array of services provided by Barnabas Health. For more information, please visit

Date: April 23, 2013

Contact: Lisa Tortorello
Public Relations:

Categories: Hospice,Press Releases