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Animal Assisted Therapy: Introducing Tullulah Martina Quinn, MSW Oncology Research Seminar January 19, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Animal Assisted Therapy: Introducing Tullulah Martina Quinn, MSW Oncology Research Seminar January 19, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Animal Assisted Therapy: Introducing Tullulah Martina Quinn, MSW Oncology Research Seminar January 19, 2009

2 Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) What is it?  A goal directed intervention in which an animal is an integral part of the treatment process  Has both therapeutic and preventative goals  A clinical approach that aims to foster beneficial links between humans and animals

3 Rationale for AAT  Animals naturally stimulate an attraction and attachment response  This affects individuals’ well-being (Brodie & Biley, 1999)

4 History of AAT  Has been recognized as beneficial to patients since 1800s  Integration of animals within care environment advocated by founders of Nursing Florence Nightingale  However, integration into hospitals and other health care settings has been slow

5 History of AAT (cont’d)  Since the 1960s, there has been a proliferation of programs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, Hospice programs, rehabilitation facilities, schools, and community care.

6 History of AAT (cont’d)  Clinicians have observed the role of the human/animal bond in promoting health for animals and humans  In the 1980s, efforts grew to document the efficacy of this intervention

7 Benefits of AAT  Animals offer companionship, unconditional regard, tolerance, and sensory stimulation (Martin, 1993)  Relaxation, decreased anxiety and depression, lowering of blood pressure, and improved quality of life for cancer patients (Chinner & Dalziel, 1991; Friedman, 1983; Mushel, 1984)

8 Research Specific to Oncology  France Bouchard, et al. wanted to show the value of AAT in pediatric oncology (Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, January 14, 2004)

9  Her Objectives were to:  Stimulate children’s interaction & communication  Promote sense of responsibility and usefulness amongst the children  Reduce their stress and anxiety  Reduce their loneliness, boredom and isolation  Increase psychological and physical well-being  Increase treatment receptivity and compliance

10 The Study  The project ran 1 year  Dogs spent time at bedside  8 hour sessions  Up to 3 times per week  A parent was also present  The parents, children and staff regularly filled out questionnaires during this time

11 Parental Reports  Gave children confidence  Friendship developed with child  Child was much happier  Dog gave affection, attention, comfort, warmth and encouragement

12 Staff Reports  Promoted child’s adaptation to and recovery from chemotherapy and surgery  When dog present, they found greater job satisfaction thus able to give better care as a result  Looked forward to working due to the decreased resistance of child

13 Adult Study  Rebecca A. Johnson, Phd, RN, FAAN et al. looked at AAT’s effect on mood, fatigue, self-perceived health, and sense of coherence among cancer patients (Oncology Nursing Forum 35(2) 2008)

14 The Study  Participants were those undergoing radiation therapy  3 groups of randomly assigned  Experimental group  15 minute sessions 3 times per week for 4 weeks visiting dog and handler  Human Visit Group  As above, but visiting with a person instead of dog  Silent Reading Group  As above, magazines were issued to group

15  The treatments were administered just prior to radiation therapy  They following were assessed at 2 points:  Mood  sense of coherence  The ability for a person to successfully endure stressful life events such as illness)  self-perceived health

16 Outcomes  Overall, the Experimental Group  Scored higher on sense of coherence  Rated their health and emotion well- being higher  Viewed their health as improved over the 4 week period

17 These investigations provide support for the benefits of the human-animal bond Today, animals (especially dogs) have been used as a means of therapy to assist people in coping with illness and disability.

18 Animal Selection  PALS (Pet Access League Society)  Non-profit, registered, charitable organization  Dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of individuals in need who can benefit from the known value of the human-animal bond  Visitation programs:  seniors care facilities, schools, hospitals, and Hospice Calgary

19 Eligibility  Interview and screening process  Obedience  Temperament  Behavioural characteristics  The animal needs to be interested in people more than their environment.  The animal must complete a certain number of visits per month to maintain membership.

20 Clearances & Insurance  Police and Child Welfare clearance  PALS carries liability policy to cover the animal and owner  Personal liability insurance can be used as an adjunct but is not mandatory

21 Vaccination  As part of the agreement with hospitals and health facilities, yearly proof of rabies and updated immunizations must be provided.  Both an annual health certification and assessment must be completed and signed off by a participating veterinarian.  Animals must be bathed on a regular basis as well a screened for enteric pathogens, and treated for internal and external parasites on a monthly basis to minimize zoonotic incidents.  All animals are rescreened by Pals after 5 years.  If the animal develops a chronic medical condition then it needs to withdraw from the program unless a veterinarian permits its participation.

22 Open Dialogue

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