Archive for March 2020

The Role of Therapy Dogs For Hospice Patients

Posted on Mar 24, 2020

Just Try Not to Smile

You’ve likely experienced a moment of joy that comes when man’s best friend suddenly visits you. Whether a dog belongs to a friend or is a joyful pooch with a stranger holding its leash, there seems to be a kind of magic that comes with interacting with a well-behaved dog. Well, oddly enough, it’s not magic—it’s science. In this piece, we’re going to look at the why and how of using therapy dogs to increase hospice patient happiness and health.

Dogs Remove Someone From Their Environment

For many hospice patients, their lives have not been optimal for many months or possibly even many years. They’ve likely undergone many procedures or therapies and spent their fair share of time in a treatment center. While healthcare providers do their best to make patient stays as comfortable as possible, there are few ways to avoid the discomforts of actively receiving treatment for what is likely a failing body. For this reason, a visit from a therapy dog is one of the more welcomed escapes hospice patients can experience. Because one doesn’t ordinarily associate a snuggly furry friend with receiving treatment, the simple presence of a therapy dog allows a hospice patient a reprieve from their anxieties and discomforts. 

Memories of the Past

Reminiscing and sharing positive memories are activities frequently encouraged to families of hospice patients. While going through photo albums or home movies are immensely beneficial ways to increase patient happiness, interacting with a therapy dog can have an astounding ability to help hospice patients recall moments with pets they’ve enjoyed. Memories of beloved pets can be some of the most joyful memories we can remember, and there are few other memory joggers quite like the wagging tail of canine companion. 

The Power of Touch

While a photo album can trigger immense joy and a favorite story can transport someone to the day the events occurred, physical contact has been clinically proven to put us at ease. In studies, patients interacting with therapy animals showed spikes in oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin—hormones associated with calmness, comfort, and happiness. Whether the connection is the embrace of a friend or the gentle petting of the floppy ears of a golden retriever, this contact with a companion is shown to lower one’s blood pressure and help reduce anxiety.

The Furry Pain Reliever

While most would equate a visit from a friendly therapy dog to increase happiness, these encounters have even been shown to reduce sensations of physical pain. While results may vary, positive encounters with therapy dogs and hospice patients have resulted in pain reductions, lowered blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular conditions. Best of all, these furry pain relievers have no adverse side effects aside from light shedding and the occasional slobber. 

The Benefits of Joyful Expectation

One of the greatest despairs facing hospice patients is the idea of not having many joys in which to look forward. For this reason, visits from therapy dogs provide hospice patients with hopeful expectations even when they’re not around. When a hospice patient is informed that a therapy dog is coming to see them, this news by itself can fill them with joyful anticipation. 

Hospice & Palliative Care Services in Tulsa, OK

For those exploring the highest quality hospice and palliative care options in the Greater Tulsa, OK area for themselves or a loved one, you're invited to meet the friendly hospice care professionals from Cura HPC.

Learn more about Cura HPC today. 

Why & How to Donate Your Body to Science

Posted on Mar 24, 2020

Throughout our lives, we serve many functions and purposes. Sibling, friend, teammate, spouse, parent, teacher, manager, counselor, muse—the list goes on. Once we die, outside of memories, our purpose seems to end...but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Yes, we can serve an immensely beneficial purpose once we die through a program called “whole body donation.”

What is Whole Body Donation?

Whole-body donation is the arranged act of donating one’s body “to science” after death. Once someone dies, their bodies are immediately transported from the site of death to the medical school of their choice or following funeral services. Bodies donated to medical schools are used for educational purposes for both medical students as well as experienced doctors for continuing education or surgical training.

Why Should I Consider Whole Body Donation?

No Substitution for a Real Body

Modern technological innovation in the sphere of medical training and research has made incredible strides in the development of educational tools and materials. Though this is the case, there is no educational substitution for a real human body. For aspiring doctors, many consider the body used to help them learn an array of functions to be their first patient. One cadaver can provide incredible insights about the human body that will help a doctor throughout their career. Other bodies donated for continued surgical training for experienced doctors will reduce the number of treatment errors for living patients. The educational input provided by one donated body can save countless lives over the careers of these doctors.

Cost Saving Measure for Final Resting

If losing a loved one wasn’t hard enough, funerals, cremations, and burials are among some of the most expensive services most of us will ever pay for. According to, the average North American funeral and burial cost anywhere from $7,000-$10,000. Though medical schools do not pay for bodies donated to their institutions in keeping with Federal law, most will cover the costs associated with laying to rest the donated bodies. Though the remains of most donated bodies are cremated, special arrangements can be made for the remains to be buried. This option may vary depending on the chosen institution.

How to Elect for Whole Body Donation

If you or a loved one are interested in donating your body to science, it is encouraged that you contact the medical school of your choice directly. This recommendation is to eliminate the chances of the improper usage of a donated body by a third-party intermediary service. Medical schools that accept donated bodies strive to make the body donation process as easy as possible for the next of kin. The department responsible for receiving donated bodies can help families make the necessary legal and administrative arrangements that will ensure a stress-free donation process. To further streamline the process and remove complications, arrangements should be made ahead of time as much as possible.

Who is Eligible for Body Donation?

There exists a common misconception that someone who is incredibly old or who experienced a traumatic disease cannot donate their body to science. Though some bodies will be denied from the program, these typically only include rare instances—possible communicable disease, extreme obesity, autopsy, or other reasons a body cannot be used for education purposes. Individual medical institutions set the criteria for donation eligibility.

Will My Body Be Treated With Respect?

Though most medical institutions cannot disclose the specific use of each donated body, they can assure family members that their loved one’s remains are treated with the utmost respect. Despite possible dissections or surgical training sessions, all honor and dignity possible are granted from the moment a body is received until it has adequately served its purpose and is ready for cremation or burial. Students are typically “introduced” to their assigned cadaver as one might meet a study partner. Many institutions have a concluding ceremony to honor those who have donated their bodies. Some students write thank-you letters to the families of those who have given their bodies. The entire process is treated with the highest honor, dignity, and respect.

Whole Body Donation in Oklahoma

If you’re interested in whole-body donation in Oklahoma, here are a few helpful links to help you begin the process.

Willed Body Program - OU Medicine

Body Donor Program - OSU Medical Center

  • Email or (918) 561-8446

For additional information on quality hospice services serving the Greater Tulsa, OK area, you’re invited to learn about CURA-HPC Hospice & Palliative Care.