To assist with patients’ pain management, Henderson Hospital’s leadership team developed a “comfort menu” in addition to traditional medication management. Options include requests for positioning, ice and heat therapies, essential oil aromatherapy for nausea and anxiety, music therapy via popular music channels on television, and comfort kits featuring ear plugs, eye masks and lip balm.
To assess the impact of aromatherapy on surgical patients, the surgery team conducted a randomized study of 109 patients who were placed in either the control group or the essential oil group. Results indicated patients in the essential oil group experienced decreased anxiety and improved vital signs with the use of lavender prior to surgery. Anxiety levels dropped by 80.4 percent when lavender was dabbed on the wrist.
The use of peppermint essential oils has also benefited patients suffering from nausea post-surgery, says Rachel Lemahieu, MSN, RNFA, CNOR, director of surgical services. Throughout Henderson Hospital, aromatherapy is used via diffusers in several waiting rooms. It’s important to follow the guidelines on the oils you may use at home.
The Joint Commission accreditation organization accepted this unique comfort menu as a “best practice,” which could be implemented by other hospitals across the country.