What Benefits Can Therapy Animals Have in the Healthcare Setting?

Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist, Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses the benefits of animals visits to healthcare settings.

Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist, Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses the benefits of animals visits to healthcare settings.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Bodies of literature suggest that there is some benefit from having an animal visit the healthcare setting. That benefit to the patient isn’t necessarily like a shorter length of stay or improved patient overall satisfaction. But it does impact things like perception of pain, loneliness, [and] depression. It may even have some impact on some neurohumoral things, which might improve overall outcomes.

There is some potential benefit, and of course there’s a risk. That risk is small, it’s real, but it’s small, but it can likely be engineered out so that the risk is acceptable, given the benefits.”