A therapy dog’s impact on daytime activity and night-time sleep for older persons with Alzheimer’s disease - A case study

Anna Swall, Ingegerd Fagerberg, Britt Ebbeskog, Carina Lundh Hagelin


Background: Animal-Assisted Therapy using dogs have been described as having a calming effect, decrease sundowning and blood-pressure in persons with Alzheimer’s disease. The aim was to investigate how continuous and scheduled visits by a prescribed therapy dog affected daytime and night-time sleep for persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Methods: In this case study, registration of activity and sleep curves was conducted from five persons with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease living at a nursing home, over a period of 16 weeks using an Actiwatch. Data was analysed with descriptive statistics.

Result: The study shows no clear pattern of effect on individual persons daytime activity and sleep when encounter with a therapy dog, but instead points to a great variety of possible different effects that brings an increased activity at different time points, for example during night-time sleep.

Conclusions: Effects from the use of a Animal-Assisted Therapy with a dog in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease needs to be further investigated and analysed from a personcentred view including both daytime and nightime activities.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/cns.v2n4p80


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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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