One of the challenges we face in developing psychosocial care programmes in social health centres is to increase participation in them. Based on an analysis we identified several reasons that condition this low participation:

In relation to the Programmes

- Design oriented, mostly, for people without cognitive impairment.

- Routine and unstimulating content.

In relation to people

- Physical, sensory and cognitive limitations of people

- Existence of behavioural disorders: apathy, disinterest, irritability,...

- Language limitations

For these reasons we decided to look for innovative therapies that would encourage participation in these activities and complement those already developed. It was in 2007, together with the Affinity Foundation, that we decided to implement a Therapy and Education Assisted by Companion Animals Programme (TEAAC) in our centres (Rezola, Bermingham and Iza).

Aimed at people with disabilities, people with cognitive impairment and people who have social and relational support needs, its aim is to complement current psychosocial therapies in order to increase their effectiveness.

This is a therapy with an interdisciplinary approach that involves animals in the daily routine of a group of people with certain pathologies for therapeutic purposes. It is scientifically proven and has been extensively tested that it brings physical, psychological and social benefits to people and provides stimulation and motivation that generates an improvement in their state of mind and consequently a better quality of life.

After the application of the programme we achieve the following results:

- Increased participation of people with cognitive impairment and more difficulties in the interaction in the intervention programmes.

- Stimulate and strengthen the cognitive, functional and social-affective capacities of the people assisted.

- Minimization of the frequency and severity of behavioral disorders, especially in episodes of apathy and irritability

- Increased level of participation and adherence (not decreased from the group) in psychosocial intervention groups.

- Cognitive and functional maintenance, evidenced in the annual assessments, in the majority of residents, thanks to the integration of the programme in the regular planning of the centre.

Thanks to the implementation of the programme and thanks to our dog IZA, most of the residents of the centres have shown greater motivation, a better state of mind and greater attention and concentration, thus achieving an increase in group attendance and a better implementation of the contents during their development.

For those who are interested in applying these techniques, on the Affinity Foundation website you have keys, training and even some videos: http://www.terapiaconanimales.org/

Esta es nuestra experiencia, y ¿a vosotros que os parece? ¿Incorporaríais esta terapia en vuestros centros? ¿Tenéis experiencias que compartir en la aplicación de estos programas?

Fundación Affinity


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