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Can therapy dogs evoke awareness of one's past and present life in persons with Alzheimer's disease?
Sophiahemmet Högskola.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0781-3771
Sophiahemmet Högskola.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0197-9121
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Older People Nursing, ISSN 1748-3735, E-ISSN 1748-3743, Vol. 10, no 2, 84-93 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) sometimes express themselves through behaviours that are difficult to manage for themselves and their caregivers, and to minimise these symptoms alternative methods are recommended. For some time now, animals have been introduced in different ways into the environment of persons with dementia. Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) includes prescribed therapy dogs visiting the person with dementia for a specific purpose.

AIM: This study aims to illuminate the meaning of the lived experience of encounters with a therapy dog for persons with Alzheimer's disease.

METHOD: Video recorded sessions were conducted for each visit of the dog and its handler to a person with AD (10 times/person). The observations have a life-world approach and were transcribed and analysed using a phenomenological hermeneutical approach.

RESULTS: The result shows a main theme 'Being aware of one's past and present existence', meaning to connect with one's senses and memories and to reflect upon these with the dog. The time spent with the dog shows the person recounting memories and feelings, and enables an opportunity to reach the person on a cognitive level.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study may contribute to health care research and provide knowledge about the use of trained therapy dogs in the care of older persons with AD in a way that might increase quality of life and well-being in persons with dementia.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The study might be useful for caregivers and dog handlers in the care of older persons with dementia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 10, no 2, 84-93 p.
Keyword [en]
Alzheimer's disease, Caring, Existence, Memories, Phenomenological hermeneutics, Therapy dog
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-21592DOI: 10.1111/opn.12053PubMedID: 24814254OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-21592DiVA: diva2:932794
Available from: 2016-06-02 Created: 2016-06-02 Last updated: 2017-11-30

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Swall, AnnaLundh Hagelin, Carina
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