Using Aroma to Improve Quality of Life in Hospice

Scent improves quality of lifeA hospice in Indiana has a full-time aromatherapy expert on staff to help terminally ill patients have a better quality of life. The aromas are diffused in the air or added to lotions and applied topically to treat a range of symptoms. Many of the patients are unable to swallow or are tired of taking pills, but still suffer from a variety of ailments.

For example, orange and ginger are used to combat nausea, peppermint and black pepper are combined for pain and spikenard, lavender and bergamot and mixed to ease anxiety. Other aroma blends address insomnia and constipation.

All of the hospice workers make their rounds with a selection of aroma blends, and over 60 patients have opted to use the aromatherapy since the program was launched three months ago. For some patients, the aromas worked when no other therapy did and use of them has resulted in less prescription drug usage.

A number of essential oils have been scientifically proven to have health benefits; others have been shown to positively affect mood and relieve stress. Stress can cause health problems ranging from heart issues to ulcers, insomnia and depression.

Aromas have a long history of being used for health reasons. Fragrances can stimulate appetite in those who are too sick to eat and can aid memory recall in the elderly and those with memory loss. Because they have positive health effects without the need to swallow pills or take shots, they vastly improve patients’ quality of life.

Many of the aromas used are pleasant smelling, making a nicer atmosphere for patients, visitors and staff. A more inviting atmosphere makes it more attractive for family and loved ones to visit, which in itself has health and mood benefits for patients.

Ask your Air Esscentials rep how you can use aroma in patient rooms and common areas to improve your patients’ quality of life.