Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Animal Assisted Therapy; Health Personnel


Introduction: This scholarly project explores literature regarding Animal-Assisted Interventions and possible impacts on healthcare professionals. Literature published within the past two decades has emphasized the various roles and benefits that the presence of animals may provide within various healthcare settings and with diverse populations. The evidence of animal-assisted interventions has been extensively researched and supported as it pertains to the client or patient involved. The problem is that no one has taken the time to evaluate the benefits that having an animal in the healthcare system may have on healthcare professionals (i.e. therapists, nurses, physicians). Due to the lack of literature, it is difficult to say how the involvement with a therapy animal influences the environment in which a healthcare provider works.

Methodology: A literature review was conducted on topics related to the human-animal bond, introduction to AAI, benefits of AAI, health care professionals, and guidelines for AAI, and the role of occupational therapy. The focus was to identify if AAI is mutually beneficial and if so, to what extent, and how to implement in a manner most conducive with mutual benefits to clients and practitioners. The literature review identified best practices that were used as the foundation in the development of a clinical guide titled: Animal-Assisted Intervention for Healthcare Professionals; An Occupational Therapy Facilitated Program.

Results: The Animal-Assisted Intervention for Healthcare Professionals; An Occupational Therapy Facilitated Program is organized into seven sections: introduction; person; environment; occupation; occupational performance/occupational fit; conclusion and resources/references. Each section is further divided into relevant subsections to outline key components related to the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) Model of Occupational Performance that was utilized to structure this clinical guide. The emphasis of this model is the conceptualization of the transactional relationship between the person, environment, and occupation as a way of understanding occupational performance (Turpin & Iwama, 2011). Occupational fit occurs when the interdependent factors of the person, environment, and occupation align, and occupational performance is enhanced (Turpin & Iwama, 2011).