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The psychological and behavioural effects of an animal-assisted therapy programme in Korean older adults with dementia

By S. M. Baek, Y. Lee, K. Y. Sohng

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Abstract

AIM: The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychological and behavioural effects of animal-assisted therapy on cognitive function, emotional state, problematic behaviours, and activities of daily living among older adults with dementia. METHODS: A nonequivalent control group pretest and post-test study design was used in this study. Twenty-eight participants-14 in the intervention group and 14 in the control group-were recruited from two hospitals in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, between February and April 2015. The intervention group received two 60-min sessions of animal-assisted therapy weekly for 8 weeks, while the control group received conventional care. The cognitive function, emotional state (mood, depression), activities of daily living, and problematic behaviours of the two groups were compared at three points (before the study, at week 4, and at week 8). RESULTS: The results showed significant group-by-time interactions of cognitive function (P < 0.001), mood status (P < 0.001), depressive symptoms (P < 0.01), degrees of activities of daily living (P < 0.001), and problematic behaviours (P < 0.001). There were no significant group differences, but significant time differences were observed in cognitive function (P < 0.001), mood status (P < 0.05), degrees of activities of daily living (P < 0.01), and problematic behaviours (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The findings of the study suggest the adoption of animal-assisted therapy in the daily care of older adults with dementia for improving their psychological and behavioural problems.

Publication Title Psychogeriatrics
ISBN/ISSN 1346-3500
DOI 10.1111/psyg.12554
Language eng
Notes 1479-8301Baek, Seung-MinLee, YaelimORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4200-8011Sohng, Kyeong-YaeJournal ArticleEnglandPsychogeriatrics. 2020 Apr 14. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12554.
Author Address Department of Nursing, Nurse Manager, Yeoju Geriatric Hospital, Yeoju, South Korea.Department of Nursing, College of Nursing, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Dementia
  3. Interventions
  4. Older adults
  5. Pet therapy