Canine Care Team

DSC_0614.jpgDSC_0653Since 2000, Duke Regional Hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation unit (a.k.a. Duke Rehabilitation Institute) has partnered with care team members of the furry kind to help patients in their recovery process. The program, Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy, is under the guidance and direction of recreation therapist, Betsy Roy, LRT/CTRS,

Once a week a certified therapy dog and their guardian visit with patients, focusing on the patient’s specific needs. Some patients benefit from the calming affect that petting a dog has, while others may use their weak arm to brush the dog. Many patients simply enjoy the unconditional kindness a dog brings and share stories of their own pets. Structured interactions from the therapy dog can impact social, emotional, cognitive and physical aspects for the patients.

Duke Regional currently has five active volunteer dogs. Coda, a sweet chocolate lab, has been with the program for seven years. Sophie, a German shepherd and Travis, a white standard poodle, have the unique quality of both being amputees, getting around on three legs, inspiring to all. Stella, a standard poodle, and Riley, a black-lab mix, are featured visiting with patients in the photos above.

Participating dogs reside with their owner, are certified therapy dogs and complete additional on-site testing. Their owners are dedicated volunteers committed to bringing happiness to our patients, sharing their time and the unique qualities of their dogs during each visit.

Duke Rehabilitation Institute is always incorporating proven therapy methods to help patients heal. To learn more about Duke Rehabilitation Institute, click here.

Duke Rehabilitation Institute Thanksgiving Lunch

Charles Newton Jr. enjoys his Thanksgiving meal among family, friends and fellow patients.

By Betsy Roy, Recreational Therapist

Each year at Thanksgiving, Duke Rehabilitation Institute (DRI) patients join their loved ones and DRI staff for a special event to give thanks, share in friendship and enjoy a delicious meal. This past Tuesday marked the 15th annual Thanksgiving Lunch celebration, with more than 100 people joining in the festivities.

The Thanksgiving lunch is a wonderful opportunity for the DRI staff to treat the patients and their families to a special day during the Thanksgiving holiday, while they are in the hospital recovering from illness and injury.

The therapy gym is transformed into a large dining room, where DRI patients, their families and staff enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and homemade desserts. Therapists, nurses, physicians and leadership work together to create an atmosphere of fellowship, friendship and gratitude, while sharing stories and sentiments of appreciation.

The entertainment is always a highlight of the event, as the units’ medical director, Dr. Raphael Orenstein, physical therapist, Jessie Haury and therapy aide, Bob Mutter, share their musical talents.

Our state-of-the-art 30-bed unit specializes in short term rehabilitation of patients with a wide range of conditions. To learn more, visit