Aromatherapy in Palliative Care

The use of essential oils can be relaxing and soothing. Essential oils are primarily used in palliative care settings and can be helpful when facing the difficult task of caring for patients with terminal illnesses. Aromatherapy can improve one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Caring for a terminally ill loved one at home or in a facility can sometimes be stressful, particularly if the patient is someone close to you, no matter the age. The care itself is physically demanding: lifting, turning and running around all take their toll on the caregiver’s body. The emotional stress involved with caring for a terminally ill loved one and working with a team of professionals and other caregivers can also be exhausting and difficult.

The use of essential oils to promote well-being and ease discomfort has been used for centuries and has a growing base of research and support in modern healthcare. More and more health care providers and their patients are recognizing the value of aromatherapy, as well as other complimentary therapies as an adjunct to allopathic medicine to treat serious medical conditions. Aromatherapy and the array of benefits it provides to patients, especially those in palliative care, is being recognized and is rapidly growing in use.

Health issues such, as nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression are just a few of the challenges and symptoms people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses may experience in the hands of a skilled professional or a caregiver. Aromatherapy can ease discomfort and improve well-being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for patients and their loved ones. One of the best ways to use essential oils is in a diffuser, preferably a cold air one, and one that operates relatively quietly. Everyone will enjoy the benefits – the patient, staff, support workers and visitors alike.

The extraction of the oils from aromatic plants has been known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic effects. Clinical trials on aromatherapy primarily investigated for the treatment of stress and anxiety in patients with a critical illness. The studies have shown a positive influence on the limbic system and thus emotional pathways.

The staff at Hospice at Methodist ElderCare is available to provide information on Aromatherapy and its benefits for your loved one while in palliative care. They can also suggest ways it might help you relax during what is usually a very stressful time for all. Call Kenya George at Hospice at Methodist ElderCare 614-451-6700 or email her at kgeorge@mecsrc.com for more information.


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