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Animal-assisted activity at A. Meyer Children's Hospital: a pilot study

By S. Caprilli, A. Messeri

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The authors systematically studied the introduction of animal-assisted activity into a children's hospital in Italy. This pilot study examined the reactions of children, their parents and the hospital staff and the hospital-wide infection rate before and after the introduction of animals. The SAM (self-assessment manikin), three behavioral scales, analysis of children's graphic productions, a parent questionnaire and a staff questionnaire were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. The children's participation was calculated. The analysis of the hospital infection rate was completed independently by the Hospital Infections Committee. The authors found that the presence of infections in the wards did not increase and the number of children at the meetings with pets in the wards was high (138 children). The study also found that the presence of animals produced some beneficial effects on children: a better perception of the environment and a good interaction with dogs. All parents were in favor of pets in the hospital, and 94% thought that this activity could benefit the child, as did the medical staff, although the staff needed more information about safety. The introduction of pets into the pediatric wards in an Italian children's hospital was a positive event because of the participation of hospitalized patients, the satisfaction expressed by both parents and medical staff, and the fact that the hospital infection rate did not change and no new infections developed after the introduction of dogs.

Date 2006
Publication Title Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 379-383
ISBN/ISSN 1741-427X
DOI 10.1093/ecam/nel029
Notes Oxford University Press
Author Address Pain and Palliative Care Service, AOU Meyer, Via L. Giordano 13, 50132 Firenze,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Attitudes
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Carnivores
  4. Children
  5. Developed countries
  6. Dogs
  7. Europe
  8. Hospitals
  9. Human-animal relationships
  10. Infections
  11. Italy
  12. Mammals
  13. Mediterranean region
  14. OECD countries
  15. open access
  16. patients
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Pets and companion animals
  19. Primates
  20. Relationships
  21. Social psychology and social anthropology
  22. therapeutics
  23. therapy
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed