Show me the Research – Lavender effect on pain with IV insertions in preschool children

Summary of article – August 2017 – hot off the press – for more information – Click the link and read the article in it’s entirety.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Volume 28, August 2017, Pages 85-91

Effect of inhalation aromatherapy with lavender essence on pain associated with intravenous catheter insertion in preschool children: A quasi-experimental study

The aim of this quasi-experimental study was to assess the effect of inhalation aromatherapy with lavender on the pain severity with IV catheter insertion in hospitalized preschool children.

Aromatherapy inhalation is a technique in which essential oils are inhaled. There is evidence to suggest that essential oils may decrease pain, improve mental stress, and depression, and improve vital signs.

The aromatherapy effect starts by absorbing aroma molecules through the nasal mucosa. The aroma molecules convert to nervous signals in the olfactory bulb, amygdala, and the limbic system and produce therapeutic effects by causing the release of a variety of neurotransmitters such as encephalin, endorphins, and serotonin.

Pain control is one of the most important issues of basic needs in the nursing care of children. Pain is relieved by pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods including complementary therapies. Many drug compounds have been used for relieving pain but they all have limitations and side effects. Consider lidocaine spray, which can cause allergic reactions, systemic absorption, and potential cardiac dysrhythmia.  The non-pharmacological methods have a relatively low-risk, are accessible and offer a low cost-benefit to nurses. The interest and use of aromatherapy to relieve pain has grown substantially compared with other supplementary therapies.

The study involved 60 participants with 30 in each group (control and experimental). The method used for the control group was 5 drops of distilled water on a sticky patch for 20 minutes exactly 30 minutes before going into IV room. Children in the aromatherapy group inhaled 5 drops of Lavender at a 2% dilution mixed with alcohol on a sticky patch for 20 minutes exactly 30 minutes before going into IV room.

The researchers used the OUCHER pain scale 10 minutes after IV insertion. The OUCHER is a poster developed specifically for children to help them communicate how much pain or hurt they feel. There are two scales on the OUCHER: a number scale for older children and a picture scale for younger children. There are six faces on the OUCHER that are easily correlated to the number scale.

Pain was measured immediately following insertion of the IV, at 5 and 10 minutes after catheter inserted.

The results –  inhalation of lavender aromatherapy could reduce pain severity associated with IV insertion. This study suggests  a safe, inexpensive and feasible method to reduce pain in our patient populations.


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