|‘Making sense of scents’, Aromatherapy in Academic Hospice Demeter: A Study into the Feasibility and Benefits
Background: Because conventional care provides insufficient relief, patients near the end of life reach out to interventions like aromatherapy increasingly more. Aromatherapy has shown positive effects in this population on psychological symptoms, anxiety, depression and quality of life. In the Netherlands, however, the application of aromatherapy in hospices is limited.
Aim and research questions: Exploring the feasibility and benefits of aromatherapy in a hospice setting. Primary research question: What is the feasibility of delivering aromatherapy to hospice patients as experienced by hospice nurses and care volunteers?
Secondary research question: What are the possible benefits of aromatherapy on anxiety, depressed mood, restlessness and quality of life in hospice patients?
Method: Feasibility was assessed with a questionnaire which was distributed among 62 care providers. The benefits of aromatherapy were explored by a patient case study and USD (Utrecht Symptom Diary ) scores.
Results: Of the 62 eligible care providers 39 responded, showing a response rate of 73.3% for the nurses and 59.6% for the care volunteers. Results showed a positive attitude of care providers towards aromatherapy but also contradicting statements. Furthermore, care volunteers were significantly less positive about practical aspects. USD scores did not indicate any benefit of aromatherapy, day to day reporting did.
Conclusion: All care providers have a positive attitude towards aromatherapy but nurses experience an increase in workload and care providers experience educational and practical problems. Benefits of aromatherapy on anxiety, depressed mood, restlessness and quality of life were not measured but care providers did observe and report positive effects.
Recommendations: Future research is needed to explore the contradicting statements of care providers and provide more substantiated insight into the benefits of aromatherapy.