Pet owners with heart failure ‘less likely to be readmitted’
New research suggests that patients with heart failure are less likely to be readmitted to hospital within 60 days if they are pet owners.
Out of 191 patients who took part, 44 owned at least one cat or dog, while 147 did not. Findings published by the Animals & Society Institute suggest 34 per cent of pet owners were readmitted within 60 days, compared to 53 per cent of non-pet owners.
Internal medicine specialist Dr Lili Barsky carried out phone interviews with patients who were admitted to hospital between January 2015 and March 2017. A chi-square test was used to investigate correlations with readmission rates, demographic attributes and clinical attributes between pet owners and non-pet owners.
According to the research paper, no correlation was observed between readmission rates and the variables of pet species or the number owned, socioeconomic class, age, gender, alcohol and tobacco use, ejection fraction, coronary artery disease and clinical management.
Although pet owners tended to be younger, there was no significant difference in the other attributes. Both the readmitted and non-readmitted pet owners endorsed comparable levels of stress and happiness associated with their animals, and identified their pets as ‘companions’.
Enquiring about pet ownership and experience could also be a useful tool in building rapport between patients and physicians, Dr Barsky concluded.