Implementing a Therapy Dog Program in a Long-Term Geriatric Care Facility: A Seminar for Health Administrators
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This thesis outlines the many benefits of animal-assisted therapy and discusses the necessary process for the successful planning and implementation of a therapy dog program in a long-term geriatric care facility. An ever-increasing amount of research proves the physiological, psychological, and emotional benefits of therapy animals on institutionalized patients, who are often lonely and depressed. The current healthcare climate continues to evolve into a patient-centered model, while at the same time, longterm care facilities are facing numerous financial obstacles due to increased utilization by the aging baby boomers. This thesis will argue that a therapy animal program can significantly improve patient quality of life while offering a low-cost alternative to traditional peripheral programs and services. This thesis will also include a workshop design and presentation for healthcare administrators regarding the benefits and implementation of such a program. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to create an educational seminar that demonstrates the effectiveness and simplicity of a therapy dog program to healthcare administrators.