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Pet therapy in elderly patients with mental illness
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
© 2011 The Authors; Psychogeriatrics © 2011 Japanese Psychogeriatric Society
Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 125–129, June 2011
How to Cite
MORETTI, F., DE RONCHI, D., BERNABEI, V., MARCHETTI, L., FERRARI, B., FORLANI, C., NEGRETTI, F., SACCHETTI, C. and ATTI, A. R. (2011), Pet therapy in elderly patients with mental illness. Psychogeriatrics, 11: 125–129. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-8301.2010.00329.x
Sources of support: none.
- Issue published online: 27 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
- Received 12 August 2009; accepted 21 June 2010.
- mental illness;
- pet therapy
Background: To evaluate the effects of pet therapy on cognitive function, mood and perceived quality of life on elderly inpatients (mean age 84.7 years; 95.2% women) affected by dementia, depression and psychosis.
Methods: Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and 15-items Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) were administered to 10 patients (pet group) and 11 controls (control group) together with a self-perceived quality-of-life questionnaire, before and after a pet therapy intervention that lasted 6 weeks. MMSE and GDS mean scores were compared between and within groups by Student's t-test.
Results: Both the pet group and control group improved on GDS and MMSE. Within the pet group, GDS symptoms decreased by 50% (from 5.9 to 2.7, P= 0.013), whereas mean MMSE score increased by 4.5 (P= 0.060). The between group comparison showed a positive effect of pet therapy intervention on GDS (P= 0.070). Most of the participants reported an improvement of their perceived quality of life.
Conclusions: Pet therapy is efficient in improving depressive symptoms and cognitive function in residents of long-term care facilities with mental illness.