Use of Aromatherapy for Pediatric Surgical Patients

Published:September 18, 2022DOI:



      Children having surgery experience distress from a myriad of sources. Aromatherapy may present an opportunity to promote a healing environment and decrease distress for children following surgery.


      Evidence regarding the use of aromatherapy with children is growing. The purpose of this project was to describe our implementation process, subsequent use of and response to aromatherapy for children undergoing surgery.


      This quality improvement project and subsequent retrospective chart review included all patients with documentation of aromatherapy use over an 8-month period. Data collection included demographic data, patient diagnosis, location, information about which oils were used, for which indications, and any outcome the nurse was able to observe (e.g., improved, no change, worsening of symptoms). A nurse-led workgroup developed and implemented a process for aromatherapy in a limited scope when discomfort, nausea/vomiting, nervousness, and sleep disturbances were reported . Charts of all patients with documented aromatherapy use were reviewed for indication/reason for use, oil, and patient response.


      Results suggest a successful implementation process. Aromatherapy was used by 191 patients (aged 3-22 years). Upset stomach, discomfort, and nervousness were most frequently reported as leading to aromatherapy use. Lavender and peppermint were the most frequently used oils. Of those patients with documented responses, the majority reported improvement.


      We were able to successfully implement a new aromatherapy program as an adjunct to care in children undergoing surgery. No adverse events were reported. Documentation is crucial to evaluating any new service.
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