261075 Implementation of a Replicable Animal-Assisted Intervention Protocol in Pediatric Oncology Settings

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ashleigh Ruehrdanz, BA , Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
Molly Jenkins, MSW , Children's Innovation Insitute, American Humane Association, Washington, DC
Amy McCullough, MA , Animal-Assisted Therapy Department, American Humane Association, Englewood, CO
In the past 20 years, childhood cancer rates have increased slightly, but advances in treatment options have led to greater survivorship for nearly all forms of childhood cancers. These improved survival rates have brought forth a plethora of new challenges for both children and families as they undergo cancer treatment, often a long-term process. . In an effort to address these complex medical, behavioral and psychosocial issues, American Humane Association has partnered with three children's hospitals across the country to implement a complementary health practice in the form of a replicable animal-assisted therapy intervention. Study protocol utilizes a randomized control trial design to provide valuable information to the growing evidence-base in the field of animal-assisted interventions. This session will describe the animal-assisted intervention protocol that was developed, as well as a pilot test in the study settings. Preliminary findings from the project will be shared throughout this session to help participants understand how the protocol was developed, the implementation challenges of this replicable animal-assisted intervention and how the research protocol will help to understand how the intervention affects the health and wellness of children with cancer and their families.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe animal-assisted interventions, including the specific protocol that was developed for this study. Explain best practices and standards in implementing animal-assisted interventions in pediatric oncology settings Identify potential challenges in implementing a complementary health practice, specifically animal-assisted interventions, in pediatric oncology settings. Discuss the potential benefits that animal-assisted interventions can provide to children and families coping with childhood cancer.

Keywords: Cancer, Animal Human Health Connection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the researchers on the project and have been involved in the project since its inception.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.