Attitudes to animal-assisted therapy with farm animals among health staff and farmers.
ABSTRACT Green care is a concept that involves the use of farm animals, plants, gardens or the landscape in cooperation with health institutions for different target groups of clients. The present study aimed at examining psychiatric therapists' (n = 60) and farmers' (n = 15) knowledge, experience and attitudes to Green care and animal-assisted therapy (AAT) with farm animals for people with psychiatric disorders. Most respondents had some or large knowledge about Green care, but experience with Green care was generally low in both groups. Both farmers and therapists believed that AAT with farm animals could contribute positively to therapy to a large or very large extent, with farmers being significantly more positive. Most of the therapists thought that AAT with farm animals contributes to increased skills in interactions with other humans, with female therapists being more positive than males. Two-thirds of the therapists believed that AAT with farm animals to a large extent could contribute better to mental health than other types of occupational therapy. There were no differences in attitudes to AAT between psychiatrists/psychologists and psychiatric nurses. This study confirms the marked potential of offering AAT services with farm animals for psychiatric patients by documenting positive attitudes to it among psychiatric therapists.
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ABSTRACT: Farms are enjoying an increasing popularity as a short-break service for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). The characteristics required on such care farms are currently unknown. To identify these characteristics, farmers of seven Dutch care farms with livestock were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. These farmers play a key role in care by offering structure, clarity and attention to ASD-children. They use a variety of farm animals with the children, as ice-breakers, co-therapists or transitional objects. Our main conclusion is that for children with ASDs, visiting farms forms an important addition to the current short-break opportunities. At the same time, the farmers expressed needs related to the quality of care, which could be improved by offering them special training.NJAS: wageningen journal of life sciences 03/2012; 59(1-2):35-40. DOI:10.106/j.njas.2012.01.001 · 1.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Care farms, where all or part of the farm is used for therapeutic purposes, show much potential for improving the health and well-being of a range of disadvantaged groups. Studies to date have been qualitative or observational, with limited empirical evidence of the effectiveness of care farms in improving health and well-being. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that lead to improvements for different disadvantaged groups is a further gap in the evidence. Participants in this study are offenders serving community orders. Their low socioeconomic status and poor health outcomes relative to the general population exemplifies disadvantage.BMJ Open 10/2014; 4(10):e006536. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006536 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Purpose: Farms are increasingly used in mental healthcare. This study aimed to systematically review the evidence on the effectiveness of farm-based interventions for patients with mental disorders. Methods: Controlled and uncontrolled studies of farm-based interventions were included. Within- and between group effect sizes were calculated. Qualitative data were summarized using thematic synthesis. The review followed the PRISMA, Cochrane and COREQ standards. Results: The eleven articles included reported results of five studies, three of which were randomized control trials (RCTs). Overall, 223 patients with depressive disorders, schizophrenia or heterogeneous mental disorders attended three types of farms-based interventions. Favourable effects on clinical status variables were found in one study in patients with depressive disorders that did not respond to medication and/or psychotherapy, and in one RCT in patients with schizophrenia. Assessment of rehabilitative effects (functioning and quality of life) was limited and yielded conflicting results. Patients' experiences revealed that social and occupational components of interventions were perceived as beneficial, and provided insights into how farm-based interventions may facilitate recovery. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the farm environment should be considered, especially for patients with mental disorders who do not achieve an adequate response with other treatment options. Further research is needed to clarify potential social and occupational benefits. Implications for Rehabilitation Despite the developments in mental healthcare, in many countries farms still play a role in the provision of psychiatric rehabilitation services. Farm-based interventions can alleviate psychiatric symptoms in patients with persistent mental disorders and can facilitate mental health recovery. The social and occupational aspects of the farm-based interventions are central to the experiences of mental health recovery.