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Consult Pharm. 2007 Jul;22(7):580-5.

Measuring clinical outcomes of animal-assisted therapy: impact on resident medication usage.

Author information

  • 1Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Omaha, Nebraska 68178, USA. elainel@creighton.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To measure changes in medication usage of as-needed, psychoactive medications and other select as-needed medication usage as a result of a therapy dog residing in the rehabilitation facility. Additional measures are participants' thoughts and feelings on quality-of-life factors.

DESIGN:

One group, pretest, post-test.

SETTING:

Residential rehabilitation facility.

PARTICIPANTS:

Convenience sample, N = 58 residents living at the facility.

INTERVENTION:

A certified, trained therapy dog.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Changes in as-needed medication usage for the following categories: analgesics, psychoactive medications, and laxatives, as well as changes in vital sign measurements of blood pressure, pulse, respiration rate, and body weight. Additionally, changes in the residents' perception of quality-of-life factors.

RESULTS:

One of the three monitored drug classes, analgesia, revealed a decrease in medication usage (mean = 2.6, standard deviation [SD] +/- 6.90, P = 0.017), and one of four monitored vital signs, pulse, showed a decrease (mean = 5.8, SD +/-7.39, P = 0.000) in study participants exposed to the therapy dog. Positive changes were reported in study participants' quality of life.

CONCLUSION:

The benefits to human welfare as a result of the presence of a therapy dog have the potential to decrease medication usage for certain conditions in long-term care patients as well as decrease costs. Pharmacist involvement in animal-assisted therapy has the potential to make unique and measurable improvements to best patient care.

PMID:
17714002
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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