Author Topic: Veteran Affairs to trial using assistance  (Read 72 times)

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Offline responsiblek9

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Veteran Affairs to trial using assistance
« on: November 25, 2017, 08:57:02 PM »
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/veteran-affairs-to-trial-using-assistance-dogs-to-treat-defence-personnel-with-ptsd-20171124-gzsjf7.html
NOVEMBER 26 2017 - 12:00AM

Veteran Affairs to trial using assistance dogs to treat defence personnel with PTSD

The Department of Veteran Affairs is set to conduct a four-year trial starting in 2018 on pairing assistance dogs with returned servicemen and women who have been diagnosed with the condition .
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Veteran Affairs to trial using assistance
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 09:04:56 PM »
Note this article is from an Australian newspaper.  The US VA has already started such a study but it is now on hold due to some difficulties with the programs selected to participate not living up to the VA's expectations.
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Offline SandyStern

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Re: Veteran Affairs to trial using assistance
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 06:00:12 AM »
There is at least one grant funded study going on, but I don't think they have a proper control group, and the program being studied uses PTSS dogs for veterans in conjunction with VA-based therapy, so I don't think the findings will be generalizable.

I wonder if the VA-sited program that got shut down recently was the locus of the study that really needs to be done: do veterans with PTSS-trained dogs have better outcomes than veterans with pet dogs? And then I'd want to see a further study of whether different tasks help or hurt.  I think I've mentioned here before that psychologists with expertise in PTSS are concerned that some standard tasks will worsen the symptoms. I was able to have a frank discussion with a veteran who used a program trained PTSS dog until her retirement. He said the dog helped him enormously, but the benefits had nothing to do with task training. Her presence calmed him, he enjoyed striking up conversations with people about her, and he got a lot of "thanks for your service," which he said was wonderful. His dog was not trained to block or watch his back based on expert advice from program consultants. She just had lovely service dog public behavior. Additionally, he was required to participate in therapy as part of the program and he thinks he might not have done that if it hadn't been required.