ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005

email@asn-online.org

202-640-4660

The Latest on X

Kidney Week

Abstract: FR-PO439

"A Ray of Hope": A Qualitative Study of Hemodialysis Patients' Attitudes Toward a Clinic-Based Animal-Assisted Intervention

Session Information

Category: Dialysis

  • 801 Dialysis: Hemodialysis and Frequent Dialysis

Authors

  • Stensland, Meredith L., The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Elorriaga, Adrian E., US Renal Care Inc, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Block, Martha, US Renal Care Inc, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Block, Geoffrey A., US Renal Care Inc, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Mcgeary, Don Douglas, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Flaman, Jacie, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • Lugosi, Selena, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Background

Adherence to one’s hemodialysis [HD] regimen is paramount to overall health and well-being for individuals receiving HD in the U.S. Patients may struggle maintaining the strenuous regimen, and ways to effectively reduce rates of missed treatments are needed. The purpose of this study was to explore HD patients’ attitudes toward a clinic-based animal-assisted intervention [AAI].

Methods

HD patients from 4 outpatient clinics engaged in 1-on-1 in-depth semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interviews took place at the dialysis clinics, including while patients were dialyzing. Within a framework of iterative content analysis, the Matrix Method was utilized in combination with line-by-line coding to thematically analyze data.

Results

Twenty patients aged 57 ± 7.93 years participated in interviews. Their narratives collectively illustrate the perceived value of AAI in the HD setting. Under the larger theme “Therapy dogs are a source of hope”, there are 4 subthemes: (i) The dread and suffering of endless treatment; (ii) Yearning for the presence of therapy dogs at the clinic; (iii) Therapy dogs can aid in the internal battle of treatment adherence; (iv) The logistics of incorporating therapy dogs into the HD care routine.

Conclusion

This study improves our understanding of how HD patients feel about receiving clinic-based therapy dog visits while also offering helpful insights for implementing this intervention in future research. Incorporating therapy dogs into HD patients’ healthcare routine may offer a complementary and integrative approach to improving patient outcomes. Findings highlight the importance of patient-centered care for this population.