In the United States, there are more than 56 million people with visible, and invisible, disabilities. Many of them use service dogs to help with things like navigating a new space and providing emotional support. In recognition of Disability Pride Month in July, Montefiore Nyack Hospital held a cultural sensitivity seminar to help employees get more comfortable interacting with service dogs and their owners.
Joanne Singleton, PhD, RN, Associate Dean and Nursing Professor at Pace University and the creator of the Canines Assisting in Health (CAsH) course, conducted the workshop with the help of “Pawfessor” Spirit, a golden retriever. Pawfessor Spirit, Dr. Singleton’s own service dog, acts as her teaching partner. More than 20 employees attended this hands-on education session, which was coordinated by the hospital’s Center for Learning and Development and sponsored by the Pace University College of Health Professions.
“It is imperative that clinicians have the knowledge to advocate for, lead and participate in quality healthcare with patients with disabilities who are teamed with a service dog, or may benefit from being teamed with a service dog,” Dr. Singleton said. “Surprisingly, health professions students and clinicians receive little to no education on how to provide the best care to these patients.”