2018 A&P Sommer Foundation award for HAI in psychiatric hospital care
The Henri Laborit Hospital in Poitiers, France specializes in psychiatric care for children and adults.
Located in the western part of central France, the Henri Laborit Hospital has been developing animal-assisted interventions for its patients for over 10 years.
2018 Adrienne & Pierre Sommer Foundation special award winner Henri Laborit hosptial features a special children’s and adolescent care unit that includies several animal-associated programs.
Among them, an educational farm belonging to the hospital but located in a natural environment on the outskirts of town . Visitors are often children from medicalized educational establisments (IME) with autistic, psychotic, and mental deficiency disorders. The farm enables the children to interact with familiar and less familiar animals, including a lama named Victorius. Another hospital-owned property features small animals like rabbits and chickens that are involved in programs for children with complex language disorders.
The hospital’s equine-assisted activities take place in riding centers with several specially selected horses suited to working with patients. For these activities, medical personnel are involved in working with riding instructors on programs designed for children divided into different age groups.
Canine activities are not currently offered, but only because the owner of the previous visiting dog has retired, and a new team has yet to take over.
The role of the Adrienne &Pierre Sommer Foundation
The Foundation has provided funding for several of the hospital’s HAI programs. It initially helped to finance the equine-assisted activity and subsequently provided the means to purchase farm supplies including food, hay, and straw.
The various HAI programs are evaluated on a regular basis though systems including observation grids, multi-disciplinary team assessments, analysis of filmed sessions, and meetings with other hosptial teams using HAI.