This study was conducted to evaluate the use of animal-assisted therapy in nursing home residents, particularly a Nursing and Rehabilitation center in Paducah, KY. Residents of long term care facilities, like a nursing home, face many challenges due to physical and mental changes. Factors contributing to these changes may include financial changes, loss of autonomy, mobility changes, etc. Various articles concerning animal-assisted therapy in elders, residents of hospitals, and residents of long-term care facilities were gathered to examine potential benefits. Findings indicated significant improvement in variables found often in elders, such as anxiety, depression, aggression, and loneliness. Many of these studies examined variables based on examinations filled out by participants. These included the Mini-Mental State examination, the Dementia Mood Assessment, and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. Between the typical isolation of nursing home placements and the isolation due to the recent COVID-19 related visitation restrictions, older adults face many disparities which could be improved with animal-assisted therapy. Therapy programs exist which serve the McCracken County area, as well as possibilities for virtual animal visits.
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