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Assisted therapy with dogs in pediatric oncology: relatives' and nurses' perceptions.

ABSTRACT

to understand the perception of nursing staff professionals and legal guardians of children and adolescents with cancer regarding Assisted Therapy with dogs.qualitative study based on participant observation conducted with 16 participants in a reference hospital of child cancer. We applied an in-depth interview and interpreted the data according to a content analysis technique.the practice is admittedly beneficial to participants despite the fact they do not understand its true objectives and therapeutic applications. Participants only associate it with something distracting and entertaining without realizing the occurrence of a more complex process behind it, which comprises changes besides the emotional ones (more easily perceived).the perceptions of participants reinforce recommendations that can be applied in the hospital environment, also showing that the therapy in question can become an effective technology to promote the health of children and adolescents with cancer.