Animal Assisted Therapy in Hospitals and Institutions
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 lower anxiety level as opposed to others in the study that only had a visit from a volunteer and no therapy dog, these patients had a 10% lower anxiety level with no other physical changes.(Michaud)[Good information here. You’ve chosen some strong statistics. Make sure you are also developing your own analysis about why these statistics are important and how they strengthen your claim. See Develop More above]
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While Canine therapy is the most accessible for most patients and wouldn't be a therapy that would work in hospitals and institutions, Equine Therapy is shown to be helpful especially with patients that have problems with psychological issues, there don't appear to be cases of equine therapy being useful in other health related fields. The studies do report that the patients in treatment are (a) more oriented in the present; (b) better able to live more fully in the here and now; (c) less burdened by regrets, guilt, and resentments; (d) less focused on fears related to the future; (e) more independent; and (f) more self-supportive. (Klontz) The use of Equine Therapy does involve the interaction with the horses and exposing the patients to the animal's hair, dirt and germs, yet the patients that...