NCPD Article

Using Aromatherapy to Improve Nighttime Comfort in Hospitalized Patients With Cancer: A Pilot Study

Leah Ann Phillips

Marwa Kilani

Sherri Mendelson

Ross J. Bindler

aromatherapy, symptom management, sleep improvement, oncology, well-being
CJON 2023, 27(4), 389-396. DOI: 10.1188/23.CJON.389-396

Background: Sleep disturbances have been shown to have negative health effects leading to inferior well-being, increased fatigue, and impaired performance. For hospitalized patients receiving oncology care, improving nighttime comfort may positively affect well-being and health outcomes, leading to decreased length of stay. Aromatherapy can improve sleep quantity and quality.

Objectives: This pilot study aimed to determine whether aromatherapy improves nighttime comfort, in particular well-being and sleep quality, for hospitalized patients with cancer.

Methods: This quasi-experimental pilot study with a single-arm pre-/post-test design evaluated the effects of nighttime aromatherapy for hospitalized patients with cancer. Measures were the World Health Organization–Five Well-Being Index and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

Findings: A total of 34 hospitalized patients with cancer participated. After aromatherapy, mean well-being scores improved significantly. Mean sleep quality scores also improved but did not reach significance. Of participants who submitted open-ended responses, 20 of 22 described a positive experience with aromatherapy, including better sleep, relaxation, soothing effects, and nausea relief.

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