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Implementation of an Animal Assisted Activity Program into a Rural Long-Term Care Facility to Increase the Perceived Quality of Life of Residents

By Vonnie Pattison, Patricia Cullen (adviser)

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Older people who have moved from familiar home surroundings to institutionalized facilities could find that the institutions will put restrictions on their personal belongings, possessions, loved ones, and pets. Loneliness and depression are common in long-term care facilities (Banks & Banks, 2002). Pets as therapy have been used in many institutions through implementation of animal assisted activity (AAA) programs with older persons to provide motivational, recreational, and therapeutic benefits to decrease loneliness and increase perceived quality of life (LeRoux & Kemp, 2009). Historically, animals and humans have been noted as possessing special bonds. The purpose and overarching goal of this doctoral capstone project was the implementation of an animal assisted activity (AAA) program into a long-term care facility to determine if there was an increased perceived quality of life (QOL) for residents who permanently lived in the facility, were over age 65, did not have dementia, and voluntarily agreed to participate in the project. Theories were chosen and used as underpinnings for the project. Classifications and relationships of variables associated with the project were examined. A systematic review of literature revealed benefits of animals in many healthcare arenas, including nursing homes and long-term care centers. Benefits of the AAA program related to: physical functioning, psychological well-being, social and cognitive functioning, vitality, and overall well-being (Kane & Radosevich, 2011). Specific steps were taken, including approval by Regis University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), to determine that the project met the requirements of an expedited review. Next, consent to participate forms were completed by interested subjects. Those who agreed to participate and signed the consent form were administered a Mini Cog Mental exam (Borson, Scanlan, Chen, & Ganguli, 2003). If the Mini Cog was passed by subjects, a Pet Demographic and Pet History questionnaire was completed by subjects (Banks & Banks, 2002). Next, two measurement tools, which were deemed valid and reliable, were chosen to administer pre and post AAA to subjects to obtain data: the Flanagan Quality of Life Scale, and the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) (Burckhardt, Anderson, Archenholtz, & Hagg, 2003; Russell, 1996). After three months of AAA, data collection and analysis, this doctoral capstone project validated the findings of earlier work completed in the field.


Katie Osborn

Date 2015
Publisher Regis University
Location of Publication Denver, Colorado
Degree Doctor of Nursing Practice
Language English
  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Loneliness
  3. Long Term Care
  4. Long-term care facilities
  5. Pet therapy
  6. Quality of life