TERAPIA ASISTIDA POR PERROS (TAP) EN PACIENTES CON ALZHEIMER
Authors: López Trueba, M.M
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IAA (Animal-assisted interventions) are the basis of TAA (2), understood as interventions in which an animal is incorporated and used as part of the treatment, as a therapeutic resource, with the straight objective of promoting the improvement in physical, social, emotional and cognitive functions of the user, with the dog (or other animal) as a motivating element. They must always be leaded by a multidisciplinary health professionals team. It also can be defined as an innovative therapeutic process in which the animal is the bond, the bridge, the motivator ... of actions, gestures and emotions that conduce healing or significant improvement processes in people. These projects have the ability to inspire and motivate people to undertake constructive activities which they would not have done otherwise. There are more and more studies that support that therapy as a science and its effectiveness (3).
According to Tucker (4), TAA (Animal Assisted Therapy) is a direct intervention with pre-designed objectives for situations of functional dependence, psychiatric or behavioral disorders, where an animal that meets specific criteria participates, as an essential part of the treatment. It is carried out in a wide variety of settings, individually or in groups, using different animals. The presence of a professional who master the animal is required, join a team of health professionals. The whole process must be previously designed and subsequently evaluated.
In Spain this therapy is called Companion Animal Assisted Therapy (TAAC).
In these interventions (5), the fundamental element is the dog (or other animals) since it is a motivating and stimulating element in itself, a fact that contributed to the development of TAA until its arrival in Europe. James A. Serpell, Director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, at the opening lecture of the VII Congress "Companion Animals, Source of Health," by Affinity, noted that there was a close relationship between the increasing companion animals in households and the changes that are taking place in Western societies. The fact that more and more people are living alone, as well as that there is a greater number of single-parent families and that socialization is reduced due to the lack of spare time available, has favored, according to Serpell, the entrance of animals at home, counteracting with his affection and unconditional love the lack of emotional ties that people are currently experiencing. For this reason, more and more research are being carried out in this field; as well as the applications of TAP (Dog Assisted Therapy) in public institutions such as prisons, schools, hospitals and nursing homes.