Dog therapy reduces anxiety and pain in the elderly

Dog therapy reduces anxiety and pain in the elderly ...

Patients reported clinically significant changes in pain, anxiety, depression, and well-being following the canine therapy, according to a 10-minute visit to the Royal University Hospital Emergency Department in Saskatoon.

On March 9, 2022, the results of a controlled clinical study by USask teams were published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE. The study was funded through a $20,000 research grant from the Royal University Hospital Foundation.

Under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Dell, the USask research chair in one health and wellness, and Dr. James Stempien, the provincial head of Emergency Medicine, the study took place. The team included other USask researchers and students from several colleges, as well as patient advisors.

A total of 44% of patients who received the therapy experienced a decrease in anxiety, but participants also experienced improvement in pain (43%), depression (46%), and well-being (44%).

According to Dell, these findings help to explore the possibility that emergency department therapy dogs can avert patients'' experience of pain, and related measures of anxiety, depression, and well-being. This is the first controlled trial of its type in Canada and elsewhere as far as we can.

The Emergency Room is a busy area, and as an ER doctor myself, I know that everything we can do to improve the patient experience is appreciated, according to Stempien.

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