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What are the benefits of aromatherapy for our nursing home residents

What are the benefits of aromatherapy for our nursing home residents?
Where do we Start?

Lance Asks:

We own a nursing home and are wanting to explore the benefits of essential oils for our customers, where should we start?

Hi Lance,

I have reworded your questions a bit.

What are the benefits of aromatherapy for our nursing home residents?    Where do we Start?

What a great question.   We have many nursing homes, VA hospitals, long term care facilities and assisted living homes that utilize aromatherapy for their residents.

There are many benefits to using aromatherapy that help not only the residents but the faculty and staff.

The use of essential oils can be used to help with a many areas of concern such as:

Increasing appetite; help to relax those that are easily agitated; as is seen with some dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

Help those with insomnia or those they need a little help falling asleep.    And for those that are always sleepy there are essential oils to help ‘energize’ them.  Stimulate memories and help the mind to become more alert.  

Massage of arms, hands, feet, legs by massage qualified staff can help many residents or patients with various ‘aches’ and pains.  Or just the loving touch of using a lightly aromatherapy scented lotion on dry skin.   

And don’t forget all essential oils have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to varying degrees.     

This is just a tip of the ‘ice berg’ as to all the ways essential oils may be utilized in a setting such as yours.

But as you asked – Where do we begin? 

First you will need to decide ‘who’ will be responsible for your Aromatherapy program.   Often times we see Activity Directors or their assistants that take on this fun and rewarding task.   We have seen Occupational Therapy departments who have one of their personnel responsible.     

If they have had training or can get training in a basic aromatherapy course by their Continuing education credits requirements it will help your program to be more effective.      If not, we can certainly give you guidance and suggestions for individuals or even the whole facility.

Next you need to think of the level of use.  Do you want it to be directed at individual cases (rooms) or do you want to use it for large areas?

In some facilities once the resident agrees (or their family) they will address the situation and use essential oils only for that person.    Other facilities prefer to diffuse in large common areas.  

Several facilities use a combination of both.   

What do they use?   Most of the time, they use a small diffusers.   The Tru Melange Fan diffuser is often used in individual rooms as is the SpaScenter.   The larger Fan Fusers are used in commons areas.

Depending on the aromatherapy result they are trying to achieve will depend on what essential oils are to be diffused. 

Most often uplifting and energizing essential oils are diffused in the mornings and early afternoons.  Then the essential oils are switched in the late afternoon or evening to relaxing, calming blends to help prepare for the quieter evening and bedtime hours. 

Again, we have seen any variety of essential oils and diffusing methods used.

As for individuals that share a room with another,  then we have the very personal ‘Aromatherapy Lapel Dots’ that were developed for use in facilities such as yours when they want to use aromatherapy for specific health or emotional concerns and have it centered for one individual.

Our best suggestion to anyone with a nursing facility whether it is a hospital, nursing home or assisted living is just to get started

It is rare to find objections to using these natural God given scents.   Start small.   Use them for a few individuals or in a small commons room.     

Usually we are asked for help with individuals.  This is often the case when the family or even the resident ASKS if there is anything else that might be ‘tried’.  

This is a perfect opportunity to try essential oils for specific situations.  Again once you get the approval, now is when your record keeping will be helpful in the long term.   What may or may not work for one person will help you to know what might be used the next time.

As always, keep good documentation.   We have seen essential oils used with dementia patients where the families and staff have seen reductions in medications, easing of agitation and much more.    But you may not see that unless you ‘write’ things down.  

Again, we are here to help you with specifics once you decide that you want to use aromatherapy. 

Oh and as for the staff, we have heard reports that they are happier, more alert and enjoy their work much more too, all from the ‘over flow’ of essential oils permeating the air.   Happier staff means happier residents!

Hope this gives you a little more idea of where to begin.

~ Penny

The information provided on this Website is for informational and educational purposes only. 
You should not use this information to replace medical advice given by a licensed medical practitioner. Anyone considering alternative therapies should remember to consult with their licensed medical professional before using any alternative or complementary method.  We do not give nor is any opinion on our web site medical advice, they are merely suggested uses.

© 2014  Penny Keay - All Rights Reserved World wide.