Animal Assisted Therapy
Increasing evidence has shown contact with animals to have positive both physical and emotional health impacts on children (1-2).
Evidence to support the use of Animal Assisted Therapy as a therapeutic adjunct.
1. Vagnoli, L., Caprilli, S., Vernucci, C., Zagni, S., Mugnai, F., & Messeri, A. 2015. Can presence of a dog reduce pain and distress in children during venipuncture?. Pain Management Nursing, 16(2), 89-95.
2. Lima, M., Silva, K., Amaral, I., Magalhães, A., & Sousa, L. 2014. Can you help when it hurts? Dogs as potential pain relief stimuli for children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. Pain Medicine, 15(11), 1983- 1986.
- Encourage interaction between patients (inpatient & outpatient) and Holly to help improve their hospital experience.
- Facilitate staff interaction with Holly and participation in staff meetings, to help improve inter-team working and boost morale.
- Review Holly’s impact on both patients, carers and staff through free text questionnaires and independent feedback.
Parents and Carers (n=37)
- 100% responded positively regarding their experience with Holly and her impact on their stay.
- When exploring the feelings she evoked in patients, happiness (n=15) and calm (n=17) were reported in 86% of respondents.
- 15 cited a positive therapeutic effect on patients
- Benefits reported included: calming effect on patients, being a great distraction, boosting staff morale and improving team working.
- Concerns raised: concern regarding infection control and ownership of caring for Holly.
Emerging theme: Mental Health
- Both patients and staff questionnaire responses highlighted the beneficial effect Holly has had in improving experience and care of mental health patients.
- 20% of patients who responded identified a mental health complaint as their reason for admission (including depression, self-harm and intentional drug overdose). They all cited Holly’s positive impact on their stay.
- Introducing Holly to the ward has been shown to have beneficial effects on both patients and staff
- She has made patients’ stay more enjoyable, improved staff morale
- Beneficial impact in improving the stay of patients admitted with mental health complaints
- We feel this project’s benefits could be replicated in other paediatric units to improve the care we provide and patients’ experiences of the healthcare system.