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Tournier, I., David, M., Vives, M-F., 2020.

Adopter un animal « collectif » en Ehpad : l'exemple du chat Jovi

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Gérontologie et société
Volume/Issue:Vol. 42 / n° 163 (3)
Pagination:pp. 205-220

A large amount of evidence now supports the psychological, social, and physical benefits of animals for older adults living in institutions such as nursing homes. However, this approach is sometimes difficult to implement due to organizational difficulties or worries. In order to facilitate the implementation of an animal adoption project, this paper presents the steps of a project carried out in a French nursing home that led to the adoption by residents and staff members of a cat named Jovi. After an overview of the literature on the benefits of animal-assisted intervention for older adults, we describe a survey conducted among thirty-seven residents and forty-four staff members of this nursing home. Their responses show a significant interest in welcoming a cat into the institution, even if some respondents mentioned potential worries (hygiene and cleanliness, risk of transmission of illnesses, the need to prohibit access to some rooms, risk of allergies). The rest of the article tackles these worries by describing in detail the implementation of an adapted sanitation protocol, the estimation of the financial cost, as well as the selection of residents and staff members to voluntarily take care of the animal on a daily basis. All these various steps are necessary to bring together residents, staff members, but also families around such a project and to guarantee a successful adoption, even if only temporary, of the animal.