Meet Therapy Dog Ebby, A Different Kind of Care Team Member
July 11, 2018 | Good Primary Care
During the winter of 2015, Sally called Iora Primary Care – Medford to find out if she could become a patient.
She had recently relocated to Medford, and was nervous about finding a new primary care provider and continuing to manage her more than 20 medications.
When Sally and her Health Coach Jennifer discussed her health goals, Sally was very interested in reducing the number of medications she was taking. As a first step, Jennifer worked with Sally’s provider to take her off all unnecessary medications. Sally also was experiencing extreme anxiety that was negatively impacting her health. Upon the advice of Jennifer and her provider, Sally began a stretching class and engaged with Iora Primary Care’s therapy dog, Ebby, which helped her to start to feel better.
Today, Sally’s health and stress has improved, she trusts her care team, and she only takes three prescriptions.
“Before Iora I never smiled, now all I do is smile,” said Sally.
This is not the first patient that Ebby has helped. Another patient, Susan, had also recently moved to Medford and was anxious about her health. On her first visit to the practice, her blood pressure was high and she was noticeably distressed. Her Health Coach suggested they pause the visit and introduced her to the Behavioral Health Specialist, Heather Carroll.
Heather asked if Susan was okay with dogs. When she answered “Yes”, she walked in with Ebby. Ebby, who normally greets patients and then calmly lays at their feet, jumped onto the couch and rested her head on the Susan’s lap. Susan opened up about how stressful her recent move was and how she felt as if no one cared that she moved.
Susan then looked down at Ebby and said “But you love me, don’t you? You care?”
Heather taught Susan different ways to cope with her stress and how to feel more connected to her community. By the end of their talk, Susan’s blood pressure had stabilized and she was able to continue her first visit with her provider and Health Coach.
Ebby is one of the many ways that Iora Primary Care meets patients where they are and addresses the whole health of a person. Learn more about Iora’s approach to primary care by checking out other articles on our Live Better blog.