Hospital Patients

Pet therapy, bedside music and cultural comforts to help you heal

Pet therapy

Northern Arizona Healthcare’s pet therapy program brings friendly dogs and hospital patients together. Our furry friends have proven to promote healing by offering unconditional love – something everyone needs. Every dog in the program has passed rigorous physical and behavioral testing, so you can rest easy and enjoy their company.  

We provide animal-assisted activities and therapy at our hospitals in Flagstaff and the Verde Valley. 

Pet therapy can make a vital contribution to a patient’s psychological and physiological well-being. In fact, the health benefits have been well-researched and documented. Interacting with animals can give you a general feeling of well-being and unconditional affection.

Visits with a therapy dog can reduce feelings of isolation and touch deprivation. Clinical studies show animals play an important role in reducing blood pressure and anxiety levels, while helping to increase motivation.

The process is simple: A volunteer knocks on your door and asks if you would like a visit with the therapy dog. If invited in, the dog and owner will enter your room. During the visit, the dog’s owner typically answers dog-related questions.

You can request a visit from a therapy dog by speaking with your nurse.

Bedside music

Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Bedside Music program can help maintain and restore your health and well-being. It’s part of our holistic approach to patient care – and a therapeutic way to meet your physical, emotional and spiritual needs during your hospital stay.

Musicians who are specially trained for hospital work come to your room and play live music. It’s very relaxing – never fast or loud. The musician stays out of the way in the background. You can go on with conversations, meals, visits or rests.

Live therapeutic music helps you focus on something besides your pain or illness, encourages relaxation and reduces stress. Many patients report being so absorbed by the soothing tones that they forget their pain and discomfort. In some cases, the benefits can continue for several hours.

Research studies have shown all the ways music helps patients. For instance, a group of surgical patients who listened to music needed less pain medication, were able to sit up sooner after surgery and were less likely to feel tired after going home. 

Besides helping to lower blood pressure, music has also been shown to:

  • Positively affect your immune system.
  • Promote relaxation and sleep.
  • Help reduce your awareness of pain.
  • Assist in a newborn’s recovery from illness.
  • Give children something to focus on during medical procedures.

Therapeutic music also promotes the production of endorphins, which reduce pain. It also assists in the production of salivary immunoglobin, which speeds healing, reduces infection and regulates heart rate. It has even been shown to ease the delivery process for mothers giving birth.

Please inform your nurse, the hospital chaplain or your physician that you’d like to have a visit from the Bedside Music program.

  • Flagstaff Medical Center: Bedside musicians are usually available Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Verde Valley Medical Center: For three hours a day, five days a week from Tuesday through Saturday, the musicians bring their musical talents to our patients. 

Cultural comforts

At Northern Arizona Healthcare, we want you to be as comfortable as possible during your stay with us. That’s why we work to provide the cultural conveniences that can go a long way to put you at ease. These include:

  • Navajo translators available to patients and their families.
  • Traditional foods available on request, such as Navajo tea and blue corn mush.
  • Interpreter services for more than 300 languages.
  • Easy-to-understand signage throughout the hospitals.
  • Support for alternative healing traditions, including medicine men, herbal medicine and more.