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Does the Addition of Animal-Assisted Therapy as an Adjunct Therapy Improve the Morbidity and Mortality of Hospitalized Patients?

By Ryan Hamm

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Background: Animals have been associated with humans for thousands of years and have fulfilled numerous roles. The use of animals as an adjunct therapy is not a new concept has been shown to have numerous positive effects including improved hemodynamic measures, decreased pain, and an improved hospital experience. Its use has been limited due to the fear of zoonotic infections, allergies, and animal behavioral issues. The popularity of animal-assisted therapy has increased as more studies have been published regarding its use, efficacy, and safety. Objective: The purpose of the analysis is to determine: Does the addition of animal-assisted therapy as an adjunct therapy improve the morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients? Methods: The databases PubMed, Cinahl, Medline, and Academic Search Premier were searched using dates January 1990 to October 2014. The terms “animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted intervention, canine-assisted therapy, pet therapy, and human-animal bond were searched. The search was limited to English language and was not limited by gender or age. The types of study included were meta-analysis, systematic review, randomized control trial, cohort study, editorials, letters, and opinions. Results: Based on the review of 12 studies, there is strong evidence that animal-assisted therapy is an effective adjunct therapy that improves the morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients. These benefits can be seen with almost any disease process, in patients of all age groups, and in many different units through the hospital. Conclusion: The use of animal-assisted therapy should be strongly considered, as it is low cost, high yield adjunct therapy that can improve the morbidity and mortality in almost any inpatient setting and patient population.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Pages 40
Degree Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Language English
University Carroll University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Assisted living facilities
  3. Health
  4. Hospices
  5. Hospitals
  6. Inpatients
  7. Long-term care facilities
  8. Nursing homes
  9. patient care
  10. physicians
  11. therapy animals