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Colleague’s canine visitor boosts ICU staff morale

Companion dog-in-training Mason offers a welcome break from challenges of COVID-19, say staff
(L-R) Royal Bolton Hospital ICU staff Jess Campbell-Tandey, Danielle Hollick and Becky Crompton with Mason

Companion dog-in-training Mason provides a welcome break from the challenges of COVID-19, say staff

A four-legged friend is helping boost the morale of nurses and other intensive care unit (ICU) staff coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The yellow Labrador cross golden retriever, named Mason, has made several trips to the Royal Bolton Hospital unit with his foster carer, a member of the ICU team, spending time with staff during break times and at the end of busy shifts.

Intensive care consultant Sarah Thornton, who fosters for the charity

Companion dog-in-training Mason provides a welcome break from the challenges of COVID-19, say staff

Royal Bolton Hospital ICU staff Jess Campbell-Tandey, Danielle Hollick and Becky Crompton with Mason the guide dog
Royal Bolton Hospital ICU staff Jess Campbell-Tandey (left), Danielle Hollick (middle) and Becky Crompton with Mason the guide dog

A four-legged friend is helping boost the morale of nurses and other intensive care unit (ICU) staff coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The yellow Labrador cross golden retriever, named Mason, has made several trips to the Royal Bolton Hospital unit with his foster carer, a member of the ICU team, spending time with staff during break times and at the end of busy shifts.

Intensive care consultant Sarah Thornton, who fosters for the charity Guide Dogs in her spare time and is currently caring for Mason, said coming home to him after stressful shifts had been a real comfort, and thought colleagues could equally benefit.

Mason has helped to lift morale and mood

‘Staff morale on the critical care wards has been hit hard by COVID-19. Lots of people have died, leaving a big psychological impact on staff well-being,’ she said.

‘To be able to take Mason in has been invaluable – it’s what the staff really needed.’

Colleagues said meeting Mason had been a tonic. ‘After a tough 12 months supporting patients, their families, friends and loved ones during the pandemic, seeing Mason when we’re on a break has helped lift our morale and mood,’ said nurse Becky Crompton.

Future buddy dog for a child with a visual impairment

‘It’s been tough, but seeing him takes you away from the sadness and lifts your spirits to go and carry on with your shift.’

Nursing student Danielle Hollick, who is currently on placement at the ICU, said: ‘He is so calm and relaxed. It lights you up when you walk in the room and see his lovely face.’

Mason is currently waiting to be placed with a child with a visual impairment as a buddy dog. Buddy dogs help children with sight problems gain confidence and a sense of independence through caring for a canine companion.

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Guide Dogs


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