Therapy dogs may help lower emergency clinicians' stress

Therapy dogs may help lower emergency clinicians' stress
Credit: Dr. Kline

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 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 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."


Explore further

Survey shows emergency physicians may benefit from training on safely handling firearms

More information: Jeffrey A. Kline et al, Randomized Trial of Therapy Dogs Versus Deliberative Coloring (Art Therapy) to Reduce Stress in Emergency Medicine Providers, Academic Emergency Medicine (2020). DOI: 10.1111/acem.13939
Journal information: Academic Emergency Medicine

Provided by Wiley
Citation: Therapy dogs may help lower emergency clinicians' stress (2020, April 8) retrieved 15 August 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-04-therapy-dogs-emergency-clinicians-stress.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
4 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments