The following is the summary of “Use of Aromatherapy for Pediatric Surgical Patients” published in the December 2022 issue of Pain management by Czarnecki, et al.

Many things can cause children going through surgery to be anxious. Children undergoing surgery may experience significant anxiety and discomfort. Aromatherapy may reduce these effects and foster a more conducive atmosphere for healing. The body of evidence supporting aromatherapy for kids is expanding. The goal of this study was to document how researchers introduced aromatherapy to pediatric surgical patients, how investigators utilize it now, and how their patients react to it.

All patients who had any record of using aromatherapy over the 8-month duration of this quality improvement study and subsequent retrospective case review were included. Collecting data involved gathering patient demographics, diagnosis, location, oil usage, indications, and any observable outcomes (e.g., improved, no change, worsening of symptoms). When people complained of pain, sickness, anxiety, and sleeplessness, a nurse-led team devised and implemented a limited-scope aromatherapy approach. Indication/reason for use, oil, and the patient response was reviewed in the charts of all patients with documented aromatherapy use. The findings point to a productive implementation phase. 191 patients used aromatherapy (aged 3-22 years). 

The most common stated triggers for turning to aromatherapy were an upset stomach, discomfort, and anxiousness. The most popular oils were lavender and peppermint. The vast majority of patients who had measurable reactions experienced enhancement. The study group provided a novel aromatherapy program as a complementary treatment for pediatric surgical patients. Negative side effects were not reported. The evaluation of a new service is only possible with the requisite documentation.