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Therapy Dogs May Help Lower Emergency Clinicians’ Stress

New research published in Academic Emergency Medicine indicates that for physicians and nurses working evening shifts in the emergency department, interacting with a therapy dog for several minutes may help lower stress.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 12:01 am EDT
"Many healthcare workers and laypersons believe that dog-assisted support can improve emotional well-being in the healthcare setting, but little hard data exist to scientifically evaluate this belief, especially in emergency care"

New research published in Academic Emergency Medicine indicates that for physicians and nurses working evening shifts in the emergency department, interacting with a therapy dog for several minutes may help lower stress.

In the 122-participant study, emergency providers randomized to a five-minute interaction with a therapy dog and handler had a significant reduction in self-reported anxiety using a visual analogue scale compared with patients randomized to coloring mandalas for five minutes with colored pencils. Also, at the end of the shift, emergency providers had lower salivary cortisol (a stress hormone) with either coloring or therapy dog interactions compared with controls.

“Many healthcare workers and laypersons believe that dog-assisted support can improve emotional well-being in the healthcare setting, but little hard data exist to scientifically evaluate this belief, especially in emergency care,” said lead author Jeffrey A. Kline, MD, of the Indiana University School of Medicine. “We provide novel data to suggest that emergency care providers enjoyed seeing a dog on shift, and received a small benefit in stress reduction after the interaction. We still do not know the extent to which the benefit was from the dog, the handler, or the combination of the two.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acem.13939

About Journal 

Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) is the official monthly publication of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) and publishes information relevant to the practice, educational advancements, and investigation of emergency medicine. It is the second-largest peer-reviewed scientific journal in the specialty of emergency medicine.

The goal of AEM is to advance the science, education, and clinical practice of emergency medicine, to serve as a voice for the academic emergency medicine community, and to promote SAEM's goals and objectives. Members and non-members worldwide depend on this journal for translational medicine relevant to emergency medicine, as well as for clinical news, case studies and more.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

Multimedia Files:

Preview image
Image Credit: Dr. Kline

Contact:

Penny Smith +44 (0) 1243 770448 (UK)
newsroom@wiley.com

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