Research has shown that a companion animal or pet can help a person better cope with stressful life events, prevent loneliness, decrease depression, improve activities of daily living (ADLs), and increase social interactions. Pets in nursing homes have been associated with decreased psychotropic medication usage and a greater than 50 percent reduction in healthcare costs. Despite research in other areas of healthcare, there is limited data concerning the use of companion animals in palliative care. This article presents an overview of companion-animal-associated medical research as well as patient stories that illustrate the roles of companion animals in end-of-life care.
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