Pet-Assisted Therapy for Delirium and Agitation in Hospitalized Patients with Neurocognitive Impairment: A Review of Literature.
Delirium leading to agitation is a common issue in elderly people and patients with underlying neurocognitive impairment. Despite use of medications to treat agitation, polypharmacy is a major concern and might lead to multiple side effects in this patient population. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate non-pharmacological methods that can provide solutions to the problem. The objective of this review was to evaluate the impact of pet-assisted therapy on elderly patients, with a major focus on agitation and delirium. For the purposes of this study, a scoping review was performed using PubMed, Google Scholar, and ClinicalTrials. We reviewed literature from 1980 to 2021. Out of the 31 studies reviewed, 14 commented on agitation with respect to pet-assisted interventions. Of these, eight studies (57%) reported a statistically significant reduction in agitation and/or delirium in patients who were exposed to pet therapy. Pet-assisted therapy can improve the standardized care in hospital-based settings for patients with neurocognitive impairment because of better companionship, reduced agitation and mood disorders, and better stability of hemodynamic status. These interventions can pave the way for better patient and hospital satisfaction.
Sheikh AB, Javed N, Leyba K, Khair AH, Ijaz Z, Dar AA, Hanif H, Farooq A, Shekhar R. Pet-Assisted Therapy for Delirium and Agitation in Hospitalized Patients with Neurocognitive Impairment: A Review of Literature. Geriatrics (Basel). 2021 Oct 1;6(4):96. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics6040096. PMID: 34698207; PMCID: PMC8544463.