Acceptability and Demand of Therapy Dog Support Among Oral Health Care Providers and Caregivers of Pediatric Patients

Aviva Vincent, Sarah Easton, Jordan Sterman, Kathleen Farkas, Masahiro Heima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This cross-sectional study evaluated the acceptability and demand for therapy dog support in pediatric dentistry (TDSPD). Methods: Caregiver surveys measured acceptability and demand for TDSPD using a five-point Likert scale (one equals "not at all", five equals "very much"). Provider surveys measured acceptability for TDSPD using a five-point Likert scale. Scores of four or five were regarded as positive. Surveys were administered in the pediatric dental clinic at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Results: The mean±SD of acceptability and demand from the caregiver survey was 4.67±0.96 and 3.86±1.61, respectively. Ninety percent (n equals 174) of caregivers indicated acceptability for TDSPD to support their child. Sixty-eight percent (n equals 130) of caregivers indicated demand for TDSPD. The mean±SD of acceptability from the provider survey was 3.63±1.50. Sixty-two percent (n equals 47) of provider survey respondents accepted the overall integration of therapy dogs to support patients. Thematic analysis of the qualitative provider responses yielded concerns for risk of accident (36 percent), infection control (50 percent), and clinic efficiency (33 percent). Caregiver survey qualitative responses were positive (68 percent), with respondents also sharing concerns for efficiency and zoonosis. Conclusions: Responses support the acceptability of and demand for therapy dog support in pediatric dentistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Dentistry
Volume42
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry

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