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Caring for individuals teamed with service dogs requires complex practice knowledge intertwined with knowledge of legal protections and institutional policy. While healthcare professionals report not feeling fully prepared to care for this population, little is known about the care experiences from individuals teamed with a service dog.
This study examined characteristics of individuals teamed with service dogs and their perspectives of what their healthcare providers know about caring for them.
Cross-sectional analysis of survey data representing N = 204 individuals teamed with service dogs in the United States. Survey questions included demographic characteristics and measures of healthcare provider knowledge in the care of service dog teams.
Less than 50% of respondents strongly agreed that their healthcare providers saw them as an expert in being supported by a service dog and communicated with them on meeting their needs. Between 56% to 65% strongly agreed to healthcare providers having knowledge of additional aspects of communication and interaction, awareness of legal rights for service dogs, organizational policies on service dogs, and acting as their advocate.
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