Evaluation of Aromatherapy in Institutional Elder Care Settings




Ransom, Sandy
Adams, Carmen Ann

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The purpose for conducting this study was to assess the effects of aromatherapy administered by patch application to people living in several Texas nursing homes. Specifically formulated blends of essential oils were evaluated regarding effects on people who inhaled the oils. Three different oil blends were tested. A total of 39 people participated in the study with a mean age of 79.8 A majority (72%) of the participants carried a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or a mental health disorder. Evaluation conducted before and after introduction of one of the blends, a combination of grapefruit and frankincense essential oils, demonstrated significant differences in specific behavioral characteristics exhibited by 13 persons suffering from dementia. Two people were able to stop taking psychotropic medications. One individual was no longer required to live on a locked unit. Additional oil blends, one containing rosemary and orange oils and another comprised of lavender and bergamot oils, yielded statistically insignificant results. However, strong anecdotal evidence was submitted from persons in a small rural home testing the rosemary/orange oil blend. Potential areas impacted through these findings include an increase in the quality of life for the Elders, a more welcoming and reassuring atmosphere for staff members and visitors, a reduction in costs associated with medications, and decreased time and effort dealing with disruptive behavioral issues. All of these issues are dealt with daily in nursing homes throughout the county.



aromatherapy, essential oils, Alzheimer's disease, elder care, Long Term Care Administration


Texas Long Term Care Institute. (2007). Evolution of aromatherapy in institutional elder care settings. (TLTCI Series Report 2008-1).


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