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HEALTHBEAT 4: Aromatherapy in hospitals

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Over 40-million patients undergo surgery per year in the United States according to the Annals of Palliative Medicine.

One Siouxland hospital is taking a unique approach to eliminate nausea and anxiety, both before and after surgery.

“Our aromatherapies are all 100% essential oils and it’s a patch that we use on our patient,” said Holly Meis, PACU Nurse, MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center.

According to Mayo Clinic, Essential oils are extracted from flowers, fruits, leaves or seeds to capture the aromatic “essence” of the plants that they come from.

MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center is utilizing these oils to help their patients with pre, and postoperative symptoms.

“They wear it on top of their gown, and it’s supposed to last from 8-24 hours so they can actually take it home with them,” said Meis.

Holly Meis, a PACU Nurse with MercyOne, says after hearing about aromatherapy at a conference in Des Moines, she wanted to bring the technique back to Siouxland.

“Last June through September, we did a 3-month trial study,” said Meis. “And we were looking at increasing the amount of anti-medics that we use in our department as well as increasing our patient satisfaction.”

The essential oils target smell receptors in the nose, triggering effects that pass through the nervous system to the brain.

“There is a minimal and a maximum scent,” adds Meis. “For patients that are under 5, we don’t use our aromatherapy. And then from 5-12 years old, we’re able to use the minimal scent.”

Right now, the aromatherapy is implemented in the post anesthesia and same-day surgery departments.

A trial study is being done on the surgical floor, in hopes that one day there can be an overall policy for the hospital.

The hospital currently has two different types of patches: orange-peppermint for nausea, and lavender for anxiety and restlessness.

Jennifer Lenzini

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