Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Marilyn Patterson

Second Advisor

Betty LeMasters

Third Advisor

John E. Morley


The purpose of this study and program implementation was to integrate animal, plants, and teamwork philosophy into the nursing home environment. The focus of measurement was to identify the therapeutic value of the Eden Alternative in nursing home residents.

Utilizing the Yesavage Geriatric depression scale, 196 residents of a St. Louis based nursing home were studied. Fifty-five percent of the residents were identified of having some depression. Utilizing the long form of the Yesavage tool, residents were questioned to establish a base level of minimal, moderate, and severe depression. In a six-month follow-up, 22% of the severely depressed were reassessed. Results concluded that residents involved in companion pet programs had substantial decrease in depression. Through patient satisfaction indexes, the study also indicated an overall increase in happiness and satisfaction of care after implementation of the Eden Alternative program.

Facility activity participation records assisted in measuring the activity levels before the program development and after implementation. A significant increase in overall activity level was identified after Edenizing. This tool also helped to determine that severely depressed individuals experienced an increase in socialization and other meaningful activities.

Other indicators and contributing service enhancements were not measured. The program development information should guide others in developing similar programs in other nursing facilities.