Effectiveness of a dog-assisted therapy programme to enhance quality of life in institutionalized dementia patients
Briones-Peralta, Mª Angeles
Pardo García, Isabel
Escribano Sotos, Francisco
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The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a dog-assisted therapy intervention to enhance quality of life in persons with dementia institutionalized in a public care home and to study its effect on the use of psychotropic medications. A dog-assisted therapy intervention was designed, in which 34 residents of a public care home in Cuenca (Spain) participated. The participants were assigned to two groups, an experimental and a control group. The program consisted of one 50-min session per week during 9months. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare post-training values between groups, using baseline values as covariates. Our findings do seem to support the hypothesis that Animal-Assisted Therapy may contribute to enhancing quality of life for residents in an aged care home. However, aspects such as the format, time, and content of the sessions as well as their possibilities of reducing psychotropic medication require more research.