Literature Review on Animal Assisted Therapy
Animal-assisted therapy is a nonconventional therapeutic intervention that focuses on improving the physical and mental health of patients through the use of trained and untrained domestic animals and pets. Animal-assisted therapy has been applied, with success, to improve the physical and psychological health of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among other conditions. several evidence-based articles on animal-assisted therapy have been written, most of which prove the importance of animal-assisted therapy in improving patients’ psychological and social behaviors.
Sánchez-Valdeón et al. (2019) explore the effect of canine-assisted therapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The pilot study is based on the question of what changes in the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease who are subjected to canine-assisted therapy are. Additionally, the research focuses on Alzheimer’s patients and involves participants drawn from ten Alzheimer’s daycare centers in the United States. The study involved patients with varying cognitive skills ranging from severe to acute cognitive decline and revealed that by the end of the canine-assisted therapy, which took twelve months, 100 percent of the participants showed massive improvement not only in their physical and psychological health but also behaviorally.
Peluso et al. (2018) also explore the essence of animal-assisted therapy for the aged living with dementia and other psychiatric illnesses. The study is based on the question of how relevant articles on animal-assisted therapy for aged people who have psychological ailments are. Peluso et al. (2019) explore sixteen articles that it deems pertinent to the mentioned question and concludes that the available research on animal-assisted therapy is way limited and not targeted at the aged and aging populations.
Cherniack & Cherniack (2014) is a thorough analysis of the issue of animal-assisted therapy with regard to the aged. The study is guided by the question of how animal-assisted therapy based on pet ownership aids the health of the aged. The study focuses on eight relevant articles obtained through a PubMed search. The finding of the study is that although the methodology of pet research is poor, pet ownership is important in animal-assisted therapy because it has positive health impacts for the aged.
Pope, Hunt, & Ellison (2016) look into the impact of animal-assisted therapy among elderly residents of a nursing facility for the aged. The study is based on the question of what the impact of animal-assisted therapy among the aged living in a nursing facility is. Additionally, the study involved forty-four participants living at a health and rehabilitation center in the United States. The researchers concluded that animal-assisted therapy improves the psychological and physical health of the aged more so those living in nursing facilities.
Mercer (2015) gives insight into the effect of animal-assisted therapy among adults under long-term care. The study is based on the question of whether animal therapy is effective among aged patients in long-term care. Moreover, it involved seven participants all aged over sixty years. The researchers concluded that animal-assisted therapy helped alleviate loneliness among the aged thus improving their psychological health.
Yakimicki, Edwards, Richards, & Beck (2019) reviews relevant scholarly articles dealing with animal-assisted therapy with regard to dementia. The study reviews six scholarly articles and concludes that animal-assisted therapy interventions are important in the treatment of dementia.
In conclusion, animal-assisted therapy is a contemporary practice used in the fields of nursing and medicine. Animal-assisted therapy provides a cheap method of improving not only the physical but also the psychological and behavioral conduct of patients suffering from mental diseases.
Cherniack, E. P., & Cherniack, A. R. (2014). The Benefit of Pets and Animal-Assisted Therapy to the Health of Older Individuals. Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, 2014, 1–9.
Mercer, K. A. (2015). Animal-assisted therapy and application to older adults in long-term care. Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(5), 16-27.
Peluso, S., Rosa, A. D., Lucia, N. D., Antenora, A., Illario, M., Esposito, M., & Michele, G. D. (2018). Animal-Assisted Therapy in Elderly Patients: Evidence and Controversies in Dementia and Psychiatric Disorders and Future Perspectives in Other Neurological Diseases. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 31(3), 149–157.
Pope, W. S., Hunt, C., & Ellison, K. (2016). Animal-assisted therapy for elderly residents of a skilled nursing facility. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(9).
Sánchez-Valdeón, L., Fernández-Martínez, E., Loma-Ramos, S., López-Alonso, A. I., Darkistade, E. B., & Ladera, V. (2019). Canine-Assisted Therapy and Quality of Life in People with Alzheimer-Type Dementia: Pilot Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.
Yakimicki, M. L., Edwards, N. E., Richards, E., & Beck, A. M. (2019). Animal-assisted intervention and dementia: a systematic review. Clinical nursing research, 28(1), 9-29