Essay on Mental Health Nursing Animal Assisted Therapy

Submitted By amandasawdey
Words: 3281
Pages: 14

ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY: ITS IMPLICATIONS ON MENTAL HEALTH AND THE NURSING PROFESSION
Amanda J. Sawdey
Western Kentucky University: School of Nursing
Fall 2014

Abstract
There are many pertinent implications of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) to the mental health and nursing profession. In this project there will be discussions of the definitions of AAT, the history of the practice, current types of animal-assisted therapy, potential benefits, ethical concerns, and finally it’s implication and relationship to uses on or in the nursing profession. This project’s purpose is to educate potential, studying, and current nurses of benefits of animal-assisted therapy and the key role that animals play in their human’s lives. Keywords: nursing, mental health, animal-assisted therapy

Contents
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………...…4
Literature Review………………………………………………………………………………………………...5 Terms and Definitions…………………………………………………………………….…………5 History of Animal-Assisted Therapy, Past to Present…………………………………..6 Types of Animal-Assisted Therapy……………………………………………………………..8
Benefits from Animal-Assisted Therapy…………………………………………………...…9 Physical Health Benefits………………………………………………………..………10 Mental Health Benefits………………………………………………………….………11
Concerns and Other Ethical Issues……………………………………………………………12
Animal-Assisted Therapy and Nursing…………………………………………………………
Conclusion.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………
References……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Introduction Humans and animals play an integral role in each other’s lives; we take care of them, and they take care of us. This reciprocal relationship is the human-animal bond, and is the basis for understanding the importance of human animal therapy. Animals present beneficial physical and psychological benefits to humans, and this is why implementing animal-assisted therapy programs and understanding their significance to nursing is so important, which is the purpose of this project. Throughout, many topics surrounding animal-assisted therapy will be addressed, such as its terminology, the history of AAT, its types, the potential benefits (both physical and mental), ethical issues, and its impact on nursing. Once animal-assisted therapy can be completely understood, it can be implemented by health care providers, and our patients can reap for its benefits.

Literature Review
Terms and Definitions Before understanding the significance and usefulness of animal-assisted therapy, we must understand the human-animal bond. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee (1998) defines the human animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both… including but not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interaction of people, animals, and the environment. (p. 1675)”
There are other programs available that work from the human-animal bond that are not necessarily defined as animal-assisted therapy. These include Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Resident Animals (RA). Resident animals are those that live in a facility full time, and are taken care of by its staff. Resident animals can be used in AAT, but much of their interaction is spontaneous/planned with the residents. An example of this can been seen in nursing homes, or assisted living environments. Animal-Assisted Activities are;
[Those activities that] provide opportunities for motivation, education, or recreation to enhance quality of life. [It is] delivered in a variety of environments by specially trained professionals, paraprofessionals, or volunteers in association with animals that meet specific criteria (AVMA, 2014).
An example of AAA is the use of service dogs for the bind, deaf, or diabetic population. What distinguishes animal-assisted activities from animal-assisted therapies is that AAA can be performed by…