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The Impact of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Staff in a Seniors Residential Care Facility

  • Julie Casey
  • Rick CsiernikEmail author
  • David Knezevic
  • Joanne Ebear
Original Article

Abstract

As with any protocol involving both humans and animals, there were inherent risks with this research. These risks were minimized through the participant screening process which assessed for animal allergies and fears for particular animal species. Participants were selected for their interest in animals which reduced the risk for the participant to experience stress during the intervention. Interaction with animals poses a risk of zoonoses. Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals. To minimize this risk, all therapy animals were under veterinary care, were thoroughly groomed, and were regularly vaccinated and dewormed. Hand hygiene policies were followed. The therapy animals’ hand-rearing and socialization minimized the risk of physical injury by the animal. The therapy animals used in this study were sheep, rabbits, chickens, and a goat. These animals are considered safe and have previously worked with other residents living in long-term care homes with no previous incidents. To ensure the safety of the therapy animals, the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations Animal Welfare Guidelines were followed for ethical human-animal practices and to protect the animals’ well-being. When working with therapy animals, animal welfare is critical since the animal is vulnerable and dependent on the therapist for their protection and well-being. The use of the Boat Inventory on Animal-Related Experiences (BIARE) reduces the risk of potential harm to the therapy animal. Additionally, the Guidelines for Wellness of Animals Involved, created by the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO), was utilized throughout the study to further ensure the wellbeing of the therapy animals.

Keywords

Animal-assisted intervention Farm animals Stress Mental health Workplace wellness Dementia Canada 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Julie Casey had NO relationship, financial or otherwise, with individuals or organizations that could influence the author’s work inappropriately, a conflict of interest may exist.

Rick Csiernik had NO relationship, financial or otherwise, with individuals or organizations that could influence the author’s work inappropriately, a conflict of interest may exist.

David Knezevic had NO relationship, financial or otherwise, with individuals or organizations that could influence the author’s work inappropriately, a conflict of interest may exist.

Joanne Ebear had NO relationship, financial or otherwise, with individuals or organizations that could influence the author’s work inappropriately, a conflict of interest may exist.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nourishing Hearts Animal Assisted TherapyRodneyCanada
  2. 2.School of Social WorkKing’s University CollegeLondonCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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