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Open AccessArticle

Patient Opinion of Visiting Therapy Dogs in a Hospital Emergency Department

1
Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
2
Department of Sociology & School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
3
College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
4
School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
5
Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
6
Emergency Department, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2968; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082968
Received: 12 March 2020 / Revised: 13 April 2020 / Accepted: 21 April 2020 / Published: 24 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Companion Animals on Public Health)
To date there have been no studies examining whether patients want emergency department (ED) therapy dog programs. This patient-oriented study examined the opinions of patients about whether they would want to be visited by a therapy dog in the Royal University Hospital ED. Cross-sectional survey data were collected over a six week period from a convenience sample of 100 adult patients who had not been visited by a therapy dog in the ED. Most (80%) indicated they would want a visit by a therapy dog as an ED patient. A higher proportion of individuals who currently have a pet dog (95%) or identify as having lots of experience with dogs (71%) were more likely to indicate this want compared to those without a dog (90%) or little to no experience with dogs (62%). The majority were also of the opinion that patients may want to visit a therapy dog in the ED to reduce anxiety (92%) and frustration (87%) as well as to increase comfort (90%) and satisfaction (90%) and to a lesser extent to reduce pain (59%). There was no significant difference in findings by gender or age, other than a higher proportion of older adults and females identifying cultural background and tradition as a possible reason that patients may not want to be visited by a therapy dog. The findings of this study can help guide considerations for future ED therapy dog programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: therapy dog; emergency department; patient opinion; companion dog; public health therapy dog; emergency department; patient opinion; companion dog; public health
MDPI and ACS Style

Reddekopp, J.; Dell, C.A.; Rohr, B.; Fornssler, B.; Gibson, M.; Carey, B.; Stempien, J. Patient Opinion of Visiting Therapy Dogs in a Hospital Emergency Department. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2968.

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