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First hospital in Spain to demonstrate positive effects of animal visits to patients’ recovery

The 6-years old Golden Retriever has visited 15 children in Madrid, helping them overcome anxiety and stress of recovery

  • March 31, 2019 20:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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Source: Comunidad de Madrid

The 12th October University Hospital located in Madrid has recently proved that assisted therapy with visiting dogs can reduce pain and anxiety with children patients. After two months of testing, together with the Department of Animals and Society within the Rey Juan Carlos University and the PsicoAnimal Association, the Hospital has completed a pioneering study for Spain and has proven that the accompanying treatment can indeed have positive effects for the recovery of young patients. For the purpose of the study 15 children and adolescents having suffered surgical intervention have been visited once a week for two hours or 23 times totally in the Paediatric unit of the Hospital by Zenit – a six-year-old Golden Retriever. Naturally, all visits have been carefully conducted and supervised by professionals of the hospital and no infections or negative side-effects have been recorded as a result. The patients have reported reduced sense of pain in comparison to the measurements before the intervention and their families on the other hand, have evaluated positively with 9.71 out of 10 the conducted experiment.

Although pioneering for the whole of Spain, this treatment has already proven efficient in hospitals in Florencia, Italy where similar programmes for assisted animal therapy have existed for over a decade now. What is particularly helpful about the animal visits is that they allow patients to focus their attention on another living creature, thereby putting their minds off the pain and expressing positive emotions. What is more, PsicoAnimal has been organizing assisted animal interventions with vulnerable groups such as children with special needs, Alzheimer patients, women and children in risk of exclusion, to name a few. The present experience, estimate from the Community of Madrid, has managed to demonstrate how this sort of interventions might produce positive outcomes for the physical, social, motor and cognitive state of the patients.



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