Study: Pediatric Dialysis Patients Benefit from Aromatherapy

Elequil Aromatabs Lavender-Peppermint on pediatric patient, parent & medical professional presentPatients on dialysis or receiving treatments, like chemotherapy, at an infusion center can experience queasiness due to side effects of medications and/or are anxious when receiving treatment that require an IV insertion. Any patient who experiences queasiness or anxiousness during these procedures knows how grueling that time can be, especially for our most delicate patients, the pediatric patient population.

Anxious pediatric patient being held and comforted by a nurse

Unfortunately for patients, this anxious feeling may occur before or during their treatments. Since these treatments can occur multiple times a week for weeks on end, that feeling of anxiousness may seem never ending especially if you are a child.

Study to determine effect of aromatherapy on anxiousness in pediatric dialysis

Recently, Joshua Evans, BSN, RN, CPN, HNB-BC a board-certified pediatric nurse took an in depth look at the role aromatherapy can play for pediatric patients in a dialysis and infusion center in Florida.

thumbnail image of white paper: Aromatherapy for Pediatrics

His paper, "Aromatherapy for Pediatrics: Elequil Aromatabs Reduce Queasiness and Anxiousness in Dialysis and Infusion Centers" discusses the findings of a five month long study to see if aromatherapy could improve the queasiness and anxiousness that some pediatric patients experience.

Finding the right clinical aromatherapy product

The team behind this study started off by comparing a couple of products and determined that Elequil Aromatabs® aromatherapy was the best option for pediatric patients based on a few factors:

  1. Its ability to be easily applied to a patient’s gown or clothing without risk of falling off or moving.
  2. It's an adhesive tab versus the other product that had a hard, small plastic disk that could easily be put into a younger patients mouth or fall into bed sheets resulting in pressure injuries.
  3. The strength of the aroma could be adjusted by using the pre-set minimum and maximum aroma exposure level.

Elequil Aromatabs Lavender-PeppermintThey then evaluated the different Elequil Aromatabs aromas and determined that the Lavender-Peppermint aroma was the best solution for its ability to address both queasiness and anxiousness.


Patient participant study methods

Parents and patients were then approached by the staff and given information about the product, including a patient information sheet which explained what aromatherapy is, why it can be effective, and how Elequil Aromatabs are used. Parents were then given the option to have their child participate.

After the five months were over, a total of 45 patients between the ages of 8 and 20 had participated: 25 in the study to determine improvement on queasiness and 20 in the study to determine improvement on anxiousness.

Each patient had the Elequil Aromatab applied to their gown/clothing with the minimum level or aroma exposure to ensure the patient and family were comfortable with the aroma. The exposure was then increased to the maximum level as requested by the patient. 
Using age-appropriate language, patients were verbally asked about their symptoms with their parent present, and simple Yes/No responses were obtained.

Study results

  • 88% of patients reported an improvement in queasiness
  • There was a 48% reduction in antiemetic medication use
  • 100% of patients reported improvements in anxiousness
  • There was a 90% reduction in anxiolytic medication use
Elequil Aromatabs Lavender-Peppermint on smiling pediatric patient lying in bed

Patients gave their experiences "huge thumbs up" after reluctantly trying the aromatherapy as they were convinced that nothing would work to help their anxiousness and medication-induced queasiness.

The nursing staff at the facility commented how the aromatherapy helped several patients, easing their anxiousness surrounding accessing their ports for infusions as well as helping patients, who despite being given medication for nausea, would still suffer through it each time they were at the center.

Another interesting point that was noted was how much the parents and patients appreciated having a choice in their care.

Choice in care provides sense of empowerment and security

Involving both the parents and the children provided them a sense of power and control which can lead children into a sense of security. Some of these children are going through medical treatment, all day every day, and empowering them through a simple choice spoke volumes.

The significant decrease in administration of medication was a significant take away as well. Joshua wrote that reducing potential side effects that certain medication can cause, such as drowsiness, low blood pressure, or nausea are things that this facility wants to avoid.

To learn more about studies using Elequil Aromatabs aromatherapy or how it can work in your facility as an alternative treatment for queasiness and anxiousness, call 1.800.233.5539 or email to request a sample packet of Elequil Aromatabs aromatherapy.


About Joshua Evans

Joshua Evans, BSN, RN, CPN, HNB-BCJoshua Evans, BSN, RN, CPN, HNB-BC is a bachelor’s prepared, board-certified pediatric nurse with 10 years of experience in pediatric care. His background includes critical care, dialysis, and education. In addition to pediatrics, he is passionate about incorporating complementary and holistic care into his practice. Josh received his post-baccalaureate certificate in Holistic Nursing from Pacific College of Health and Science and is a board-certified holistic nurse. Josh is also a member of the Psi Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Megan Sargalski

Megan Sargalski

Marketing Communications Specialist

Subscribe to BeekSpeak