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'Bringing respite in the burden of illness': Dog handlers experience of visiting older persons with dementia together with a therapy dog.
Högskolan Dalarna.
Karolinska institutet.
Sophiahemmet högskola, Karolinska institutet, Stockholms sjukhem.
Ersta Sköndal University College, Department of Health Care Sciences.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 25, no 15-16, 2223-2231 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To illuminate meanings of the lived experiences of dog handlers' when visiting older persons with dementia with their therapy dog.

BACKGROUND: Studies indicate that care of persons with dementia should focus on a person-centred approach with the person's interests in the centre. Animal-assisted therapy using a therapy dog in the care of persons with dementia has been shown to increase well-being and decrease problematic behaviours associated with the illness.

DESIGN: A qualitative lifeworld approach was adopted for this study.

METHODS: Data were collected from open-ended interviews with nine dog handlers, and the analysis conducted using the phenomenological hermeneutical method.

RESULTS: The structural analysis resulted in one theme, 'Respite from the burden of illness for persons with dementia'.

CONCLUSIONS: Visiting a person with dementia can be seen as an act of caring, providing temporary respite from their illness, and creating a special relationship between handler and patient. A therapydog visit can represent a moment of communion between the handler and the person with dementia.

IMPLICATION FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE: Dog handlers use their skills and knowledge to promote a situation that reduces symptoms of illness and encourages healthier behaviour. The results of this study may be of interest to researchers, clinical practitioners, caregivers and dog handlers who care for persons with dementia using therapy dog teams on prescription as an alternative method to minimise behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 25, no 15-16, 2223-2231 p.
Keyword [en]
Caring, Dementia, Dog handlers, Person-centredness, Phenomenological hermeneutics, Therapy dog, Well-being
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-5658DOI: 10.1111/jocn.13261PubMedID: 27277921OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-5658DiVA: diva2:1057852
Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved

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