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All About A.D.A.P.T. - Assisted Dog and Pony Therapy in a Outpatient Free Standing Multidisciplinary Ambulatory Care Center

‐ Jun 26, 2023 11:00am

Credits: None available.

Purpose: Humans have an innate drive to connect with other living things. There is a long-standing history of turning to animals for improving health and well-being. Modern research indicates that the human-animal interaction can decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social connection (Fine, 2019). Horses and dogs are incredibly perceptive when sensing human emotions and observing or participating in interactions. They can provide immediate, honest, and non-threatening feedback, which can help guide and enhance treatment. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is directed by a licensed psychologist or mental health provider with specialized experience. Interactions with horses or dogs can provide patients opportunities to face fears and build confidence, learn and practice healthier ways of relating to others, and feel more comfortable working with their healthcare team.
Description: The ADAPT (assisted dog and pony therapy) program is a first-of-its kind model to incorporate animals into therapeutic treatment planning for patients at Nemours Children’s Health – Jacksonville, an outpatient free-standing multidisciplinary ambulatory care center. This program addresses a variety of children's mental and emotional health needs, including anxiety, anger issues, grief and loss, behavioral and family relationship concerns, communication difficulties, depression, and emotional adjustment to medical issues.
The ADAPT program was established as a three-year implementation science research project in partnership between Nemours Children’s Health and the University of North Florida to create ADAPT serves as a living laboratory for research in evidence-based practices incorporating animal-assisted therapy into a traditional medical healthcare setting. The World Health Organization promotes the use of implementation science methodology in research for new and innovative programing in systems that are often experienced as highly resistant to change, e.g., in educational institutions and healthcare organizations (WHO, 2019).
Evaluation/outcome: This poster presentation will provide learners with a foundation in the principles of implementation science research practices in animal-assisted therapy; strategies for building collaborations among healthcare organizations, university systems, and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International, and equine-assisted services (EAS) programs. Strategies specific to provider education, organization policy/procedure development, and program approval will be reviewed. Funding-specific strategies will also be presented, as this program is 100% donor-funded. Finally, several ADAPT program research projects will be briefly outlined: determining organizational readiness for animal-assisted therapy implementation (2021) and the ADAPT pre-pilot procedure testing (2021). The layered approach to research and the future research agenda for the ADAPT program will also be revealed.


Credits: None available.