HABRI-Funded Study Shows Importance of the Human-Animal Bond for MDs
Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2017) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The University of Toronto, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan announced the publication of a study exploring whether Primary Healthcare Professionals asking their patients about the pets in the family would positively impact communication to gather clinically relevant information and improve patient care.
“Results of our survey show that asking about pets in the family is an easy and effective way to build trust with a patient, strengthening the patient-provider therapeutic alliance,” said Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. “When healthcare providers learn about the pets in patients’ lives, they are also developing an understanding about specific aspects of their patients’ environment and social history that can improve the delivery of healthcare.”
“Having an exam-room conversation about companion animals helps healthcare providers learn important information about patients’ lifestyle and home life which can positively influence the way they evaluate and treat their patients,” said Alan Monavvari, MD, Chief of Family Medicine, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ, at Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Dr. Hodgson and Dr. Monavvari, along with co-authors Marcia Darling, BSc and Dr. Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, DipACT, analyzed results of a baseline and follow-up survey of 225 healthcare professionals asking about prevalence of patients living with pets, the health impact of pets, and influences on patient communication. Results revealed that patients are more open to talking to their healthcare providers about their pets, revealing clinically relevant information about how they live. Baseline and final surveys measured awareness of pets in patients’ families, assessment of determinants of health, impact on rapport with patients, and patient care. A sign test assessed difference in scores using repeated-measures analysis. Findings demonstrated that asking about pets strengthens the patient-provider relationship and therapeutic alliance. Knowing about pets in patients’ families influences the available approaches to care and enables providers to incorporate the pet into patient management plans. For example, learning about dog ownership can lead physicians to encourage dog walking for increased physical activity. All participants in the survey had patients with pets, and all patients responded without objection.
“Scientific research demonstrates that the human-animal bond helps reduce blood pressure, relieve stress, and increase physical activity,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “With the results of the Asking About Pets study, we know that pets benefit the medical profession by empowering doctors to activate pets as an existing health resource in the family to take better care of us!”
Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, Marcia Darling, BSc(Hons), Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, DipACT, Alan Monavvari, MD, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ. “Asking About Pets Enhances Patient Communication and Care: A Pilot Study” INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing 54 (2017). Web. 6 October 2017. https://doi.org/10.1177/0046958017734030.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.
About Markham Stouffville Hospital
Markham Stouffville Hospital is a progressive, two-site, community hospital with 275 beds, leading diagnostic services and clinical programs in acute care medicine and surgery, addictions and mental health, and childbirth and children’s services. Partnering with other specialist providers, the hospital’s 450 physicians, 2,100 staff, and 1,300 volunteers make it the centre of community care for the residents of the City of Markham and the Towns of Stouffville and Uxbridge.
More Press Releases
Email Reminder + Dog = Increased Physical Activity
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced the results of a study exploring the effects of an email mediated intervention to increase walking in dog owners and non-dog owners, conducted by researchers at Purdue University and published in the journal Clinical Nursing Research. Findings of the study showed that a simple email intervention sharing the importance of walking and the positive impact of walking on a dog’s health were effective tools to promote walking. These interventions caused participants to increase and maintain dog walking over a 12-month period. Email intervention for non-dog owners also increased weekly minutes of walking compared with baseline measures and control groups, however dog owners accumulated significantly more walking minutes per week than non-dog owners. “Walking is an easy, accessible way to increase physical activity, which is important for the health of people and their pets,” said the principal investigator on the study, Elizabeth A. Richards, PhD, RN, CHES, of Purdue University. “Because an email reminder is so simple, these findings should be easy to replicate, encouraging dog owners and non-dog owners alike to lead more physically active lifestyles.” Participants assigned to the intervention group received a twice-weekly email message for the first four weeks of the intervention followed by weekly email messages for the next eight weeks. The emails attempted to influence confidence through a variety of mechanisms which the investigators hypothesized would directly influence dog walking for dog owners and walking for non-dog owners. Previous studies have supported that dog owners who walk their dogs are motivated to do so because of dog-related support for walking. A number of dog-owner participants in this study anecdotally reported that their ability to maintain behavior change in physical activity was in part due to the dog expecting a walk and conditioning the owner to comply. “With...
Pet Partners and HABRI Join Forces to Promote Human-Animal Bond
Pet Partners, the nation’s leading organization in animal assisted interventions, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation to advance both scientific study and public policy that recognizes the positive impact that companion animals have on human health. “In signing this agreement to develop a more formal working relationship with HABRI, Pet Partners recognizes the importance of developing scientific evidence that shows the positive human health outcomes associated with the human-animal bond,” said Annie Magnant, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Together, along with the Pet Partners grassroots network of more than 11,000 therapy animal teams, we can share this science and advance policies that recognize the healing power of pets.” “Pet Partners sets the gold standard for animal assisted interventions and has an array of effective programs to help and heal people with the power of the human-animal bond,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “HABRI has the scientific research programs and Pet Partners has the paws on the ground – it’s a great combination.” Pet Partners and HABRI will work together to support pet-friendly public policies, arming a far-reaching network of Pet Partners therapy animal teams with the latest research results to persuade more people and institutions to recognize the impact of animal assisted interventions. Pet Partners will look at practical applications in program development resulting from HABRI supported research, making the research come to life. HABRI will also promote opportunities for Pet Partners therapy animal teams to participate in high-quality research projects that examine the important role of companion animals in human health. “The phrase ‘human-animal bond’ was coined by Leo Bustad, one of the founders of Pet Partners,” said Magnant. “The importance of evidenced based outcomes is at the very core of the Pet Partners...
Survey Shows Health Benefits of Pets Linked to Improved Veterinary Care
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) today announced the findings of a new survey on how knowledge of the scientific benefits of the human-animal bond impacts the way pet owners care for their companion animals. The survey asked pet owners about their awareness of research that shows pets improve human health and found that this knowledge motivated them to take better care of their pets, including a significant, positive impact on veterinary care. “When educated about the scientific research on the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to take important measures to improve pet health and augment their relationship with their veterinarians,” said AAHA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F). “AAHA-accredited animal hospitals continue to raise the standard for veterinary care across the country, and HABRI gives us another way to connect with pet owners to enhance that care.” When 2,000 pet owners were educated about the human health benefits of pet ownership: 92% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventive medicine 89% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including regular check-ups with a veterinarian 88% said they were more likely to provide a pet with higher quality nutrition 51% said they were more likely to purchase pet health insurance 62% said they were less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian 89% said they were more likely to take better care of a pet “When people find out that pets improve heart health, decrease stress, help alleviate depression and address specific conditions that include autism, PTSD and Alzheimer’s, they become more focused on caring for their pet’s health,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “More awareness of human-animal bond science improves veterinary care and leads to a healthier pet population.” Veterinarians,...