Lavender aromatherapy for sleep in hospitalized patients: A scoping review

Ani Jacob, Jane H. White


Background and objective: The importance of promoting sleep for hospitalized patients is vital especially because sleep has been shown to promote healing. Complementary and alternative medicine approaches for health and wellness have been widely used in the United States. However, for hospitalized patients, while aromatherapy such as lavender is often used by nurses for comfort and sleep, the evidence for specific dosage and administration methods are unclear, even though its effectiveness has been shown and published.  The purpose of this scoping review is to highlight the significant issues surrounding the evidence to date for lavender aromatherapy’s clinical use for hospitalized patients.

Methods: This review utilized the PRISMA steps to identify literature important to the study’s purpose.

Results: After the initial search using specific keywords yielded 588 articles, further steps in the process resulted in 8 studies whose purpose was to test the effectiveness of lavender aromatherapy for sleep in hospitalized patients. Three major categories that resulted from the review addressed the clinical evidence limitations associated with lavender’s use for sleep: the wide range of sample characteristics and counties, mixed variables for study purposes, and disparate dosage and administration methods. Most significant for clinical practice was the disparate dosages and methods of lavender aromatherapy administration across the studies reviewed for effectiveness.

Conclusion and implications: Nurses should proceed with caution when using lavender aromatherapy for hospitalized patients. This review highlighted the need for nurses to conduct and disseminate findings from randomized clinical trials utilizing hospitalized general medical-surgical patients. Testing dosages and administration methods that have shown to be effective for medical surgical hospitalized patients is warranted.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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