Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a means of therapy that is intended to help the patient's recovery advance, the patients can express themselves with and through the pet. Patients are allowed to pet, groom and walk, ride or swim with the animal giving them a chance to nurture and find companionship with the pet. Some of the goals are to improve a patient's social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning. The therapists seeks to achieve a better rapport with the patient channeled through the use of the animal that is assisting in the therapy. Due to concerns from institutions, health professionals have concerns about animal's hair, dirt and germs, but procedures of cleanliness have been developed that would permit pet-therapy programs at most hospitals and nursing homes.
In an article in The Doctor's New Assistant, it is stated that the animals in the pet-therapy program must adhere to strict rules, they have to abide by the rules established in their states through the State Department of Health and the Veterinarians Association. The animals have to be immunized, cannot get on a patients bed and can not go into the facilities kitchen. (2014) While there remains concerns that the animal may bite a patient or become aggressive, an additional precaution is put into place requiring the animals go through obedience training.
Canine therapy is the most common of all AAT programs and the one with the easiest access to the general population. A UCLA study done on patients with heart failure worked with 76 patients. When the patients were visited by a therapy dog showed they showed a 10% decrease in heart and lung pressure, 24% lowering of anxiety levels and a 17% had lowe...
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...he use of AAT being used in hospitals and institutions by reducing the pain and suffering of their patients, notably decreasing their medications and increasing their quality of life. While research continues in this field staff and patients continue to be educated in the use of AAT for the betterment of everyone.
Works in progress citation page
(1)Animal Assisted Therapy http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/programs/animal-assisted-therapy/ American Humane Association
(2) The Doctor's New Assistant Says 'arf ' Opposing Viewpoints
(3) Cole, K., Gawlinski, A., Steers, N., & Kotlerman, j. (2007). Animal assisted therapy in patients hospitalized with heart failure. American Journal of Critical Care, 16, 575-585
(4) Patterson, D., & Jensen, M. (2003) Hypnosis and clinical pain. Psychological Bulletin 129,http://chp.sagepub.com/content/12/1/151 295-521
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