Dog-assisted in care homes: what you need to know

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Dog-assisted in care homes: what you need to know

Dog-assisted in care homes: what could be the impact with older people? Dogs are of great help from various points of view in daily life; they are very so in some situations, such as those involving the elderly and their care.

Health & social care in the community published an article entitled Dog-assisted interventions in care homes: A qualitative exploration of the nature, meaning and impact of interactions for older people: this is what the abstract of the article explains.

"Dog-assisted interventions (DAI) have been shown to have a wide-range of potential benefits for older adults living in care homes. Yet, there is a lack of published qualitative research which explores the experiences of care home residents, staff and dog -owner volunteers involved in DAI to fully understand its meaning, impact and value.

This study aimed to explore the impact of a DAI on the social and emotional wellbeing of older residents living in care homes.

Dog-assisted in care homes: what you need to know

The research employed a qualitative study design comprising overt, naturalistic researcher observation of weekly DAI sessions with 54 older adult residents across four participating care homes in the South East region of England over 3 months in 2018.

Data were also collected through focus groups with 12 care home staff and 7 dog-owner volunteers. Data from the observations and focus groups was individually coded followed by thematic analysis across the three data sources.

Findings demonstrated there were clear benefits for older people who engaged with DAI, as well as for dog-owners and to some extent for care home staff members. Benefits included sensory, emotional stimulation and opportunities for social interaction, reminiscence on early life experiences and these were supported by the development of some new social relationships.

While there were some environmental challenges to implementing DAI, the findings confirm its value for care home residents, with minimal drawbacks from an organizational standpoint. As a low cost intervention, adoption of DAI in care home settings appeared to strengthen relationships between residents and staff and enable wider relationships with an external community resource."