Mercy Health program provides pet care to assist hospice patient - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mercy Health program provides pet care to assist hospice patients

Posted: Updated: Jun 09, 2014 12:03 AM
JANESVILLE (WKOW) – A program at Mercy Health System has attracted national recognition for its volunteer-based achievement.

Mercy Hospice adopted the Pet Peace of Mind program in December, 2012. Pet Peace of Mind was created in 2009 by the Banfield Charitable Trust, which continues to fund the program at 78 hospices around the country. The program provides care to animals whose owners are in hospice.

The Pet Peace of Mind program at Mercy Hospice was honored this year with an award for excellence from the American Hospital Association. 

In many cases our patients literally have no family of their own and their pets are their family,” said Nancy Bracken, director of Mercy Hospice care.

Being able to provide the service for our hospice patients, especially at their end of life journey, is extremely comforting to them,” she said. “They go on knowing someone will keep loving their pet that they have cared so much about.”

Bracken said the program, which is staffed entirely by volunteers, can pair up animals whose owners have passed away in hospice care with new homes.

Laura Bergeron, Mercy Hospice's volunteer coordinator, said volunteers also provide services like house breaking, dog walking, transportation to veterinary or grooming appointments, and even pet cleanup.

A lot of our volunteers think they're going to go in and just take care of the pet,” she said.

But in the end they're also coming along and assisting the family,” Bergeron said. “They get to know the family as well. It's very rewarding to know you were able to impact their lives.”

Bracken said those hoping to volunteer with the Pet Peace of Mind program or to adopt an animal in need of a home can call 608-754-2201.

Bergeron said Mercy Hospice also regularly posts updates on pets in need of homes on the Mercy Health System Facebook page.

Bergeron said the program has so far helped almost 20 animals.


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- A volunteer program that cares for the pets of patients in hospice care is receiving national recognition.

The Pet Peace of Mind program at Mercy Health System, in Janesville, was one of four volunteer, hospital programs recognized for excellence this year by the American Hospital Association.

The program, created at Mercy Hospice in December 2012, provides help with pet care essentials like grooming, housebreaking and transportation to appointments. Patients in hospice care often lose the ability to perform such tasks.

The program has so far helped almost 20 animals either through care or through matching them with new families after their owners passed away.

27 News will have more on the Pet Peace of Mind Program and the services it provides Monday night at 10 p.m.
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