Pets and the Elderly

  1. Hi... I am a first semester nursing student, and I need to find some information on the positiveness of the elderly having pets.. especially with stress relief...

    Thanks for any help..
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    About Ortho_RN

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 1,616; Likes: 37
    New RN Grad... Just passed NCLEX.. Working on a Ortho floor


  3. by   Talino
  4. by   KlareRN
    I had the pleasure of being the DON in a long term care facility that incorporated the "Eden Alternative" in our building. This is a philosophy that uses pets, children, and plants as a usual part of the environment. We had everything from peacocks to dogs, cats,fish, chinchillas and birds. Our feeling was that these three things are normal to most of us all our lives...why give them up when long term care placement is needed? It is amazing to watch a resident with dementia and combative behaviors become instantly gentle with an animal to hold. I think the name of the Dr. that initially trialed the idea was Dr. Bill Thomas and I am sure there are web sites that explain the philosophy. Staff are the big obstacle when this is implemented because they do not want to have to care for the animals. In our facility we just made it clear that the animals were staying and if our vision was not what staff had in mind...they needed to go elsewhere. Alot of them changed their minds once they saw what a difference the animals made in the quality of life for the residents. Some of the cats we brought in even adopted a resident and slept on their beds with them. Of course you need a policy and health certificates and vet checks routinely; but an animal is sometimes the best friend a resident can have. Good luck with your search for information!!