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animal-assisted therapy, artificial respiration, critical care, intensive care unit, mechanical ventilation



  1. Hetland, Breanna PhD, RN, CCRN-K
  2. Bailey, Tanya MSW, LICSW
  3. Prince-Paul, Maryjo PhD, APRN, ACHPN, FPCN


Mechanical ventilation is a common life-support intervention for critically ill patients that can cause stressful psychological symptoms. Animal-assisted interactions have been used in a variety of inpatient settings to reduce symptom burden and promote overall well-being. Because of the severity of illness associated with critical care, use of highly technological equipment, and heightened concern for infection control and patient safety, animal-assisted interaction has not been widely adopted in the intensive care unit. This case study of the therapeutic interaction between a canine and a mechanically ventilated patient provides support for the promotion of animal-assisted interactions as an innovative symptom management strategy in the intensive care unit.