The Human Animal Bond Research Institute, The University of Toronto, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan recently announced the publication of a study exploring whether primary healthcare professionals asking their patients about the pets in the family would positively impact communication to gather clinically relevant information and improve patient care.
225 healthcare professionals were surveyed about the prevalence of patients living with pets, the health impact of pets and influences on patient communication.
- Patients are more open to talking to their healthcare providers about their pets, revealing clinically relevant information about how they live
- Asking about pets in the family is an easy and effective way to build trust with a patient, strengthening the patient-provider therapeutic alliance
- Having an exam-room conversation about companion animals helps healthcare providers learn important information about patients’ lifestyle and home life which can positively influence the way they evaluate and treat their patients.
Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, and co-author of the study said, “When healthcare providers learn about the pets in patients’ lives, they are also developing an understanding of specific aspects of their patients’ environment and social history that can improve the delivery of healthcare.”