Dogs provide comfort for high-risk pregnancy patients at Haifa hospital


Many women in the high-risk pregnancy and the fetal-medicine units at Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus who spends weeks or longer in the wards have been very anxious since the war against Hamas terrorists in the south began and rockets have been fired in the north by Hizbollah terrorists.

Now, the patients have gotten what the doctors ordered – four-legged friends. Service dogs are being brought among the various inpatients, attracting not only them but also among medical staffers. 

The cute dogs have become an attraction and a distraction from the worries of hospitalization and the pressures that accompany it. “You could literally see the electronic monitors to which many are attached relaxing,” said Michal Kranzler, director of nursing at Rambam’s pregnancy and delivery system.

“Some of the women got out of bed to pet the dogs, while some let the dogs come to them. No one was left indifferent, and the positive effect of the dogs on the women was immediate and amazing. This is an especially important value, when it comes to women who are hospitalized in the at-risk pregnancy unit and need every tool that can give them peace and relaxation.”

Four-legged friends are no stranger to Rambam

Therapeutic service dogs have been visiting Rambam’s various departments since the first week of the war. There were visits to the bedsides of wounded soldiers and civilians from the north and the south, along with patients hospitalized for non-war conditions. 

At Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, four-legged visitors immediately calm women with high-risk pregnancies and wounded from the north and south (credit: RAMBAM HEALTHCARE CAMPUS)

The initiative was led by Idit Leiba, an operating room nurse at Rambam, who also serves as a therapy-dog trainer. It has received the support of the hospital administration and being carried out in collaboration with the therapy-dog training center in Kiryat Tivon and the Israel Center for Guide Dogs at Beit Oved. 

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