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  • 1.
    Swall, Anna
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing. Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    Ebbeskog, Britt
    Lundh Hagelin, Carina
    Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    Fagerberg, Ingegerd
    'Bringing respite in the burden of illness' - dog handlers experience of visiting older persons with dementia together with a therapy dog2016In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 25, no 15-16, p. 2223-2231Article in journal (Refereed)
    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 therapy dog 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.

  • 2.
    Swall, Anna
    et al.
    Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    Ebbeskog, Britt
    Lundh Hagelin, Carina
    Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    Fagerberg, Ingegerd
    Can therapy dogs evoke awareness of one's past and present life in persons with Alzheimer's disease?2015In: International Journal of Older People Nursing, ISSN 1748-3735, E-ISSN 1748-3743, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 84-93Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 3.
    Swall, Anna
    et al.
    Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    Fagerberg, Ingegerd
    Ebbeskog, Britt
    Lundh Hagelin, Carina
    Sophiahemmet Högskola.
    A therapy dog's impact on daytime activity and night-time sleep for older persons with Alzheimer's disease: a case study2014In: Clinical Nursing Studies, ISSN 2324-7940, E-ISSN 2324-7959, Vol. 2, no 4, p. 80-93Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Animal-Assisted Therapy using dogs have been described as having a calming effect, decrease sundowning and blood-pressure in persons with Alzheimer’s disease. The aim was to investigate how continuous and scheduled visits by a prescribed therapy dog affected daytime and night-time sleep for persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Methods: In this case study, registration of activity and sleep curves was conducted from five persons with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease living at a nursing home, over a period of 16 weeks using an Actiwatch. Data was analysed with descriptive statistics.

    Result: The study shows no clear pattern of effect on individual persons daytime activity and sleep when encounter with a therapy dog, but instead points to a great variety of possible different effects that brings an increased activity at different time points, for example during night-time sleep.

    Conclusions: Effects from the use of a Animal-Assisted Therapy with a dog in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease needs to be further investigated and analysed from a personcentred view including both daytime and nightime activities.

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