The Effectiveness of Using Therapeutic Dog Program on the Elderly with Dementia in Nursing Homes of Taiwan

Monday, 22 July 2013: 11:05 AM

Ming-Lee Yeh, PhD
School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taiepi, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the professional animal assisted therapy training and practicing

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to know the effectiveness of the animal assisted therapy on the elderly with dementia in nursing homes

Purpose: This research was to develop and to evaluate a canine animal assisted therapy program in Taiwan.

Methods: Based on the concept of animal assisted therapy(AAT), this program included two stages. Based on a quasi-experimental research design, 58 elder residents with dementia in nursing homes participated in this program. Participants were divided into experimental (E group) and control group (C group) equally. 16 times of designed “Therapeutic Dog” program was applied into E group, while regular living activity was applied into C group, during two months. The Multidimensional Observation Scale of Elderly Subjects (MOSES), Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) and the individual therapeutic goal (ITG) were used for evaluating the effectiveness of this program.

Results: The results reveal: 1) both groups had improvement in MOSES and CMAI, but no statistical significant; 2) E group had significantly improvement in the individual therapeutic goal fields of oral expression, movement, memory and socialization; 3) the best improvement held in the field of “socialization”, especially “keeping focusing on an activity” (p<.0001), while the improvement of “oral expression” was the second, especially “focusing on the same topic” (p<.0001).

Conclusion: The canine AAT activities have significant benefits for dementia elders on the fields of oral expression, movement, memory and socialization, especially on keeping longer focusing on an activity, and reducing repeated negative behaviors.