Fido In The Hospital: Paper On An Emperical Study

1262 words - 5 pages

Fido in the HospitalChild- life therapy programs and pet therapy programs involve the use of both enriching activities and animals ( mainly dogs ) to not only provide a distraction, but emotional support to hospitalized children. How well these therapies work, however, has never been tested.Purpose of the InvestigationChildren who must endure hospitalization and recurring illness are subjected to not only major amounts of stress, but also a separation from the comforts of home to an alien world of needles, medication, and bed rest. Play is one way that all children deal with conflict in their life and it allows children to deal with anxiety, externalize problems and conflicts, and go from passive to active roles. Play can act as a diversion from stress and it can also allow a child to allow control over situations by allowing choices. This is especially important for hospitalized children because it can compensate for a deficiency in control in other areas of their hospitalization. There has been some research into the therapeutic use of animals but there is a lack of investigation into the social, emotional, or psychologic impact of animals on hospitalized children, and the comparison of play therapy versus pet therapy.How the Investigation was Carried OutA sample of seventy children was used from the population of inpatients at a large children's university hospital. Forty of these children participated in the child-life (play) therapy, and thirty participated in the PFT (pet) therapy. All of the children met the criteria for the experiment by having no allergies to animals, no prior traumatic incidences with animals, nosymptomatic immunosuppression, and a willingness to participate in the PFT program. The children also had to be 5 years of age or older, have the ability to answer questions, and have the ability to participate in child-life activities. The average age was 9.86 and there were more boys (56%) than girls (44%). Both groups were similar in age; the child-life (control) group had more boys than girls, but the pet (experimental) group was evenly split between gender. All patients either had a chronic disorder, or were transplant patients.Therapy was conducted once a week for each child. Prior to therapy the child was asked to report his/her mood by asking if they felt sad, happy, lonely, worried...ect and were asked to what extent from zero (not at all), to one (a little), to two (a lot). The possible range of moods went from one to fourteen, with fourteen being more positive. The children were then asked to report how they felt right now based on a chart from one to seven with seven facial expressions ( 1 being very sad to 7 being very happy). This mood report was also conducted after therapy. The parents also rated there child's mood on a five point scale where the score was four to twenty, with twenty being the most positive. The child's blood pressure, heart rate, saliva sample, (salivary cortisol has been used to measure stress)...

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