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1. Dr Jessica Hill BOccThy (HONS I), PhD
2. Associate Professor Carlie Driscoll BSpPath, PGDipAud, PhD, MAudSA(CCP).
3. Miss Kelly Pearse BOccThy (HONS) student, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

There has been increasing interest in the benefits dogs can have in the lives of people. This has been particularly so since the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as it has been suggested that clients may be able to access funds to support both assistance dogs and animal-assisted therapy. In parallel with this increased interest and potentially improved accessibility of animal-assisted services to clients has been considerable confusion over the terminology used to describe assistance, therapy and companion (pet) dogs. Deciding to engage with animal-assisted services requires a number of considerations that must be taken in order to protect the welfare of our clients and the dogs. Therefore, with the increased interest in and, as a result, increased demand for canine-assisted services within Australia it is important to fully understand the terminology, as well as the role of occupational therapy, as failure to do so has the potential to compromise the safety and well-being of the client and the dogs involved.

This study aims to identify and address the gaps in knowledge, and therefore contribute to the understanding of occupational therapists within this space. Your participation will involve completing the following questionnaire about your understanding of occupational therapists engaging with animal-assisted services including: 1) terminology, 2) the role of occupational therapists, and 3) priorities for support. Questions involve a mix of both forced and short answer questions. Whilst you are encouraged to expand on your answers this is not mandatory.

You have been invited to participate within this study, however, participation is completely voluntary. It is your choice to participate within this study and no ramifications will occur if you decide that you do not wish to be involved. You have the right to withdraw your consent to participate within this study at any time by exiting out of the survey before completion with no risk of ramification. No reasons will need to be provided to the research team.

No personal information will be collected at any time throughout the process of this project ensuring your anonymity is maintained. All online information electronic data will be kept in the University of Queensland’s Research Data Manager (UQRDM) also located at the University of Queensland with only persons involved within the study having access.

This study is being completed with a hope of sharing results and information with the wider community including presentations at national conference, as well as, publication. Your anonymity will be maintained at all times with no personal information being collected.

This study adheres to the Guidelines of the ethical review process of The University of Queensland and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

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