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Recovering with 4-legged friends requires less pain medication
Date:11/16/2009

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Adults who use pet therapy while recovering from total joint-replacement surgery require 50 percent less pain medication than those who do not. These findings were presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and the First Human Animal Interaction Conference (HAI) in Kansas City, Mo.

"Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can have a positive effect on a patient's psychosocial, emotional and physical well being," said Julia Havey, RN, study presenter and senior systems analyst, Department of Medical Center Information Systems, Loyola University Health System (LUHS). "These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery."

Animal lover Havey, and colleague Frances Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, began raising puppies to become assistance dogs more than a decade ago through a program called Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). The non-profit organization provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with physical and developmental disabilities free of charge.

"As nurses, we are committed to improving the quality of life for others," said Vlasses, associate professor & chair of Health Systems Management and Policy, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. "This service experience has provided us with a unique way to combine our love for animals with care for people with special needs.

In addition to the financial obligations that go along with raising a puppy, Havey and Vlasses take the dogs to class and teach them house and public etiquette until they are old enough to enter a formal training program.

"You might see our four-legged friends around Loyola's campus from time to time," said Havey, RN, senior systems analyst, Department of Medical Center Information Systems, LUHS. "Part of our responsibility as volunteers is to acclimate these dogs to people. The Loyola c
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Contact: Nora Plunkett
nplunkett@lumc.edu
708-216-6268
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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