Currently, there is a lack of compelling, objective evidence of the effect of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) on children in hospital settings. A well-designed study investigating the effect of AAI on anxiety and sedation can help provide data to determine the health impact of animals on people and whether that effect is beneficial. This study will provide critical and much-needed evidence to AAI organizations, hospital administrators, pediatricians, nurses, and parents for determining the value of the use of animals in hospital settings. It will also lay the foundation for future studies using this approach of capturing medical outcomes and physiologic effects of standardized AAI.
Compare preoperative anxiety scores and ketofol doses necessary for sedation to effect in children receiving pre-procedure animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and control interventions.
Children who interact with a therapy dog 20 minutes prior to a surgical procedure will demonstrate less preoperative anxiety and require a decreased amount of medication for sedation compared to children who do not interact with a therapy dog, but instead participate in a control activity.
Children provided the treatment (AAI) will have significantly lower preoperative anxiety and will need less medication to sedate to effect compared to children in the control group (iPad tablet). If our hypothesis is correct, the results of the study could be used to justify and advocate for AAI in various medical situations. This study will also open doors for future similar studies investigating medical outcomes associated with AAI.