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Archive January 2021 XXII, No. 1

Ideas That Work: Breathe Easy

Lavender Scent Calms Anxious Patients

Thomas Koehler
SWEET SMELL Aromatherapy is an easy and inexpensive way to put patients at ease.

Most patients are nervous before surgery, especially now when family members and loved ones are unable to wait with them due to COVID-19 restrictions. That's why we tap into the calming effects of aromatherapy. We hand out lavender aromatherapy inhalers in pre-op, and most patients say inhaling the scent decreases their anxiety levels. The inhaler, which costs about $1.50, looks like a lipstick container with a cotton ball inside that's been soaked in essential oils. Patients also have access to the inhalers in the PACU, and even take them home for use during their recoveries.

Thomas Koehler, BSN, RN, CNOR
John Muir Hospital
Walnut Creek, Calif.

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