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Help Patients Breathe Easier
Inhalers filled with essential oils pave the way for less stressful surgery.
Adam Taylor | Senior Editor
Publish Date: November 10, 2021   |  Tags:   Patient Experience
CALMING FRAGRANCE Thomas Koehler, BSN, RN, CNOR (left), says administering aromatherapy preoperatively can ameliorate patients’ anxiety about their upcoming procedures and improve their clinical outcomes.   |   Thomas Koehler
The patient at John Muir Hospital was extremely anxious while waiting for her surgery to start and had no loved ones present to support her, which the pre-op nursing staff knew would only intensify her anxiety. Thomas Koehler, BSN, RN, CNOR, a perioperative nurse at the facility in Walnut Creek, Calif., gave the patient a plastic inhaler about the size of a lipstick container filled with calming lavender oil. “The patient used the inhaler frequently, almost like a calming blanket,” says Mr. Koehler. “She told us the inhaler helped her relax, which in turn made me feel good. I think a lot of pre-op nurses feel helpless because there really aren’t a lot of things in our toolkit that treat acute preoperative anxiety.”
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